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THE  stones  in  this  volume  are  transcribed  from  voluminous 
illustrated  diaries  which  have  been  kept  by  me  for  some 
twenty  years  spent  in  travel  and  in  sport  in  many  lands — 
the  last  nine  of  them  almost  entirely  in  Japan,  while 
collecting  subjects  of  natural  history  for  the  British 
Museum  ;  trawling  and  dredging  in  the  Inland  Sea, 
sometimes  with  success,  sometimes  without,  but  in  the 
end  contributing  to  the  treasury  some  fifty  things  new 
to  Science,  and,  according  to  Sir  Edwin  Ray  Lankester, 
'  adding  greatly  to  the  knowledge  of  Japanese  Ethnology.' 
As  may  be  supposed,  such  a  life  has  brought  me  into  close 
contact  with  the  people — the  fisher,  the  farmer,  the  priest, 
the  doctor,  the  children,  and  all  others  from  whom  there 
is  a  possibility  of  extracting  information.  Many  and 
weird  are  the  tales  I  have  been  told.  In  this  volume  the 
Publishers  prefer  to  have  a  mixture — stories  of  Mountains, 
of  Trees,  of  Flowers,  of  Places  in  History,  and  Legends. 
For  the  general  results  obtained  in  my  diaries  I  have  to 

thank  our  late  Minister  in  Tokio,  Sir  Ernest  Satow  ;  the 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

Ministers  and  Vice-Ministers  of  Foreign  Affairs  and  of 
Agriculture,  who  gave  me  many  letters  of  introduction  ; 
my  dear  friend  Mr.  Hattori,  Governor  of  Hiogo  Pre- 
fecture ;  the  translators  of  the  original  notes  and 
manuscripts  (often  roughly  written  in  Japanese),  among 
whom  are  Mr.  Ando,  Mr.  Matsuzaki,  and  Mr.  Watanabe  ; 
and  Mr.  Mo-No-Yuki,  who  drew  and  painted  the 
illustrations  from  sketches  of  my  own,  which  must  often 
have  grated  on  his  artistic  ideas,  keeping  him  awake  in 
reflection  on  the  crudeness  of  the  European  sense  of  art. 

To  my  faithful  interpreter  Yuki  Egawa  also  are  due 
my  thanks  for  continual  efforts  to  find  what  I  wanted  ; 
and  to  many  Japanese  peasants  and  fishermen,  whose  good- 
nature, kindness,  and  hospitality  have  endeared  them  to 
me  for  ever.  Well  is  it  that  they,  so  worthy  a  people, 
have  so  worthy  a  Sovereign. 


June  1908. 




1.  THE  GOLDEN  HAIRPIN       .......          i 

2.  THE  SPIRIT  OF  THE  WILLOW  TREE    .         .         .         .         .12 

3.  GHOST  OF  THE  VIOLET  WELL     .         .         .         .         .         .19 

4.  GHOST  STORY  OF  THE  FLUTE'S  TOMB          ....       27 

5.  A  HAUNTED  TEMPLE  IN  INABA  PROVINCE    ....        36 

6.  A  CARP  GIVES  A  LESSON  IN  PERSEVERANCE  ....       44 


8.  A  MIRACULOUS  SWORD       .         .         .          .          .         .         .56 

9.  *THE  PROCESSION  OF  GHOSTS'    .          .          .          .          .          .61 

10.  A  FAITHFUL  SERVANT         .......  65 

11.  PRINCE  HOSOKAWA'S  MOST  VALUABLE  TITLE-DEEDS      .          .  71 

12.  THE  STORY  OF  KATO  SAYEMON           .....  75 

13.  GREAT  FIRE  CAUSED  BY  A  LADY'S  DRESS     ....  82 

14.  HISTORY  OF  AWOTO  FUJITSUNA  .         .          .          .          .         .88 

15.  A  LIFE  SAVED  BY  A  SPIDER  AND  Two  DOVES      .         .  91 

1 6.  MURAKAMI  YOSHITERU'S  FAITHFULNESS          ....  96 

17.  A  STORY  OF  OKI  ISLANDS           .          .          .          .          .  101 

18.  CAPE  OF  THE  WOMAN'S  SWORD  .          .          .          .          .          .no 

ix  b 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 


19.  HOW  YOGODAYU  WON  A   BATTLE          .           .           .  .  .      Il6 

20.  THE  ISOLATED  OR  DESOLATED  ISLAND            .          .  .  .120 

21.  CHIKUBU  ISLAND,  LAKE  BIWA     .          .          .          .  .  .126 

22.  REINCARNATION           .          .          .          .          .          .  .  .132 

23.  THE  DIVING-WOMAN  OF  Oiso  BAY     .          .         .  .  .136 


25.  SAIGYO  HOSHI'S  ROCK         .          .          .          .          .  .  .150 

26.  How  MASAKUNI  REGAINED  HIS  SIGHT           .          .  .  157 

27.  SAGAMI  BAY      .          .          .          .          .          .          .  .  .162 


29.  THE  PERPETUAL  LIFE-GIVING  WINE   .         .          .  .  .178 

30.  THE  HERMIT'S  CAVE          .          .         .          .         .  .  .      183 

31.  YOSOJI'S  CAMELLIA  TREE    .          .          .          .          .  189 

32.  WHALES    .          .         .         .          .         .         .         .  .  .196 


34.  A  STORY  OF  MOUNT  KANZANREI         .....     208 

35.  WHITE  BONE  MOUNTAIN    .          .          .          .          .          .  215 ^^ 

36.  A  STORMY  NIGHT'S  TRAGEDY     .          .          .          .          .          .223 

37.  THE  KAKEMONO  GHOST  OF  AKI  PROVINCE  .          .          .          .231 

38.  WHITE  SAKE     .........     239 

39.  THE  BLIND  BEAUTY  ........      245 

40.  THE  SECRET  OF  IIDAMACHI  POND        .          .          .          .          .253 

41.  THE  SPIRIT  OF  YENOKI     .......     259 

42.  THE  SPIRIT  OF  THE  LOTUS  LILY        .....     267 

43.  THE  TEMPLE  OF  THE  AWABI      ......      274 

44.  HUMAN  FIREFLIES      ........      282 



4.5.  THE  CHRYSANTHEMUM  HERMIT           .  .         .         .  .     287 

46.  THE  PRINCESS  PEONY          ,         .         .  .         .         .  .291 

47.  THE  MEMORIAL  CHERRY  TREE            .  .         .         .  .     297 

48.  THE  'JIROHEI'  CHERRY  TREE,  KYOTO  ....     302 

49.  THE  SNOW  GHOST    ...         .         .  ...  .     307 

50.  THE  SNOW  TOMB      .         .         .         ,  ..         .  .312 

51.  THE  DRAGON-SHAPED  PLUM  TREE      .  .         .         .  -319 


53.  THE  PRECIOUS  SWORD  *NATORI  No  HOTO  '         .         •  .     331 

54.  THE  WHITE  SERPENT  GOD         .         *  .         .         .  .     336 

55.  A  FESTIVAL  OF  THE  AWABI  FISH         .  . '        .         .  .     341 


57.  THE  CAMPHOR  TREE  TOMB        .         .  .         .          ..  .      352 


List  of  Illustrations 

1.  Iganosuke  dives  for  the  Pipe  and  finds  the  Idol  .     Frontispiece 


2.  The  Spirit  of  O  Ko  appears  to  Konojo  as  O  Kei  San          .  2 

3.  Heitaro  meets  Higo  under  the  Willow  Tree       .         .  12 

4.  Shimizutani.      The    Servants    find   their    Mistress    lying 

insensible   .         .         .  »      .        '.         •         *         •        <  •.  2O 

5.  The  Ghost  of  Yoichi  appears  to  the  Three  as  they  talk     :*.  28 

6.  Jogen  sights  the  haunted  Temple      .         .  *       .        ••         .  36 

7.  Rosetsu  watches  the  Carp          .         .         •         •         ••         •  44 

8.  The  Fire-ball  or  *  Shito  dama  '  of  Akechi            .         .•'        .'  •.,  48 

9.  O  Tani  San's  Tub  gets  swamped      ..    •   .         .         *         ...  50 

10.  The  Black  Rocks  at  Ishiyama-dera  where  Prayers  are  tied  .  52 

11.  Yamato-dake  no  Mikoto  destroys   his  Enemies  and  saves 

himself  from  being  burned  by  the  aid  of  the  miraculous 

Sword         .         .          .          .          .          .         •         .         .  56 

12.  The  Procession  of  Ghosts         .         .         .         .         .         .  62 

13.  Matsuo  declares  the  Head  to  be  that  of  Kanshusai      .          .  66 

14.  Okawa  plunges  the  Hosokawa  Deed  into  his  Stomach         .  72 

1 5.  Ishidomaro  meets  his  Father,  but  fails  to  identify  him  for  sure  76 

1 6.  O  Same  sees  the  handsome  young  Priest    .          .         .         .  82 

1 7.  Awoto  Fujitsuna  orders  every  one  to  search  for  the  Half-cent  88 

1 8.  Oba  Kage-chika  feels  in  the  Tree  with  his  Bow          .          .  92 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 


19.  Murakami    Yoshiteru    does    '  Harakiri  '    and    throws    his 

Entrails  at  the  Enemy          ......         96 

20.  O  Tokoyo  sees  the  Girl  about  to  be  thrown  over  Cliff       .        102 

21.  O  Tokoyo  sees  Yofune-Nushi  coming  towards  her     .         .        106 

22.  Tarada  sees  the  mysterious  Figure  of  a  Girl       .         .         .        no 

23.  Yogodayu  saves  the  Bee's  Life  in  Kizugawa  Valley     .          .        116 

24.  Makino  Heinei  gets  blown  away  in  the  Storm  .          .         .120 

25.  O  Tsuru  sees  the  giant  Carp  dead     .         .          .          .          .126 

26.  The  Monkeys  listen  to  the  Priest's  Sermon        .         .          .132 

27.  The  Priest  writes  the  first  five  Volumes    .         .         .         .132 

28.  O  Kinu  San  inspects  the  Place  where  Takadai  Jiro  com- 

mitted Suicide    .         .         .         .          .         .         .         .136 

29.  Furuzuka  Iga  cuts  off  the  Head  of  the  ex-Emperor  Shutoku, 

who  is  his  own  Son     .         .         .         .         .          .         .150 

30.  O  Ai  San  continues  her  Prayers  under  the  Fall          .         .        158 

31.  O  Cho  San  commits  Suicide     .         .         .         .         .         .162 

32.  Kume  slays  the  Eagle,  Torijima 168 

33.  Okureha  is  saved  by  the  Goddess 178 

34.  The  Goddess  of  Mount  Daimugenzan       .         .         .          .182 

35.  The  Old  Hermit  entertains  the  Children  .          .         .184 

36.  The  Spirit  of  Fuji  shows  Yosoji  the  Health-giving  Stream         190 

37.  Yoda  Emon  finds  himself  on  a  Whale's  Back     .         .          .196 

38.  Hanano  San  takes  the  Cherry  Branch  from  the  Youth        .       202 

39.  The  Woodcutter  saves  Choyo  from  Robbers      .         .          .       208 

40.  Mad  Joan,  though  muttering,  is  dead  and  a  Skeleton          .        216 

41.  The  Sentry  finds  Watanabe  Tatsuzo  on  the  Pine  Branch    .        224 

42.  O  Kimi  kills  herself  on  the  Island    .....       232 

43.  The  Ghost  of  the  '  Kakemono  ' 232 

44.  Mamikiko  tastes  the  white  Sake 240 

45.  Kichijiro  finds  poor  O  Ima  blind       .....       246 


List  of  Illustrations 


46.  lidamachi  Pond,  Hayashi's  House     .         .         .         .         .254 

47.  The    Spirit  of  the   one-eyed   Priest,   Yenoki,   appears   to 

Sonobe     f.         .         .  *       .         .         .         .         •         .  260 

48.  Ippai  attacks  the  Children        .          ..         .          i          .          .  268 

49.  The  Fishermen  are  astonished  at  the  extraordinary  Light  .  274 

50.  Jimpachi's  miserable  Death       .         .         .         .         .         .  282 

51.  Kikuo  prays  at  the  Grave  of  his  Feudal  Lord     .          .          .  288 

52.  'Aya  Hime,'  or  Princess  Aya,  is  saved  in  her  Fall  by  the 

'Botan  Spirit,'  Peony  Spirit          .         .          .          .          .'  292 

53.  The  Girl  brings  the  Kakemono  to  Kihachi's  shop  in  the 

Middle  of  the  Night  .         .         .      '    .    '     .         .         .  208 

54.  Jirohei  clings  to  the  Cherry  Tree  even  in  Death        .         ,  302 

55.  Kyuzaemon  sees  the  '  Yuki  Onna '    .         .         .         .  308 

56.  Rokugo  sees  a  ghostly  Spirit     .         ,        >         .  312 

57.  The  Spirit  of  the  Tree  appears  to  Kotaro  and  the  Old  Man  320 

58.  Ukon  shows  Sayemon  that  he  has  already  sacrificed  himself  326 

59.  Harada  and  Gundayu  fencing  .          .         •          .          .          .  336 

60.  What  Saotome  and  Tamajo  found    .          .          .          .          «  342 

61.  The  Spirit  of  the  Willow  Tree  appears  to  Gobei       .         ,(  346 

62.  Chogoro  and  his  Men  fail  to  move  the  Kusunoki  Tree        .  352 




UP  in  the  northern  city  of  Sendai,  whence  come  the 
best  of  Japanese  soldiers,  there  lived  a  samurai  named 

Hasunuma  was  rich  and  hospitable,  and  consequently 
much  thought  of  and  well  liked.  Some  thirty-five  years 
ago  his  wife  presented  him  with  a  beautiful  daughter,  their 
first  child,  whom  they  called  c  Ko/  which  means  '  Small ' 
when  applied  to  a  child,  much  as  we  say  <  Little  Mary '  or 
*  Little  Jane.'  Her  full  name  was  really  '  Hasu-ko/  which 
means  c  Little  Lily '  ;  but  here  we  will  call  her  '  Ko  '  for 

Exactly  on  the  same  date,  '  Saito,'  one  of  Hasunuma's 
friends  and  also  a  samurai,  had  the  good  fortune  to  have 
a  son.  The  fathers  decided  that,  being  such  old  friends, 
they  would  wed  their  children  to  each  other  when  old 
enough  to  marry  ;  they  were  very  happy  over  the  idea, 
and  so  were  their  wives.  To  make  the  engagement  of  the 

1  This  story  savours  of  '  Botan  D5r5,'  or  Peony  Lantern  story,  told  both  by 
Mitford  and  by  Lafcadio  Hearn.  In  this  instance,  however,  the  spirit  of  the  dead 
sister  passes  into  the  body  of  the  living  one,  assumes  her  form,  leaves  her  sick  and 
ill  for  over  a  year,  and  then  allows  her  to  reappear  as  if  she  had  never  been  ill  at  all.  It 
is  the  first  story  of  its  kind  I  have  heard. 

I  I 

Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

babies  more  binding,  Saito  handed  to  Hasunuma  a  golden 
hairpin  which  had  long  been  in  his  family,  and  said  : 

'  Here,  my  old  friend,  take  this  pin.  It  shall  be  a  token 
of  betrothal  from  my  son,  whose  name  shall  be  Konojo, 
to  your  little  daughter  Ko,  both  of  whom  are  now  aged 
two  weeks  only.  May  they  live  long  and  happy  lives 

Hasunuma  took  the  pin,  and  handed  it  to  his  wife  to 
keep  ;  then  they  drank  sake  to  the  health  of  each  other, 
and  to  the  bride  and  bridegroom  of  some  twenty  years 

A  few  months  after  this  Saito,  in  some  way,  caused 
displeasure  to  his  feudal  lord,  and,  being  dismissed  from 
service,  left  Sendai  with  his  family — whither  no  one  knew. 

Seventeen  years  later  O  Ko  San  was,  with  one  exception, 
the  most  beautiful  girl  in  all  Sendai ;  the  exception  was 
her  sister,  O  Kei,  just  a  year  younger,  and  as  beautiful  as 

Many  were  the  suitors  for  O  Ko's  hand  ;  but  she 
would  have  none  of  them,  being  faithful  to  the  engagement 
made  for  her  by  her  father  when  she  was  a  baby.  True, 
she  had  never  seen  her  betrothed,  and  (which  seemed 
more  curious)  neither  she  nor  her  family  had  ever  once 
heard  of  the  Saito  family  since  they  had  left  Sendai,  over 
sixteen  years  before  ;  but  that  was  no  reason  why  she,  a 
Japanese  girl,  should  break  the  word  of  her  father,  and 
therefore  O  Ko  San  remained  faithful  to  her  unknown 
lover,  though  she  sorrowed  greatly  at  his  non-appearance  ; 
in  fact,  she  secretly  suffered  so  much  thereby  that  she 
sickened,  and  three  months  later  died,  to  the  grief  of  all 
who  knew  her  and  to  her  family's  serious  distress. 


THE   SPIRIT   OF    O    KO    APPEARS    TO    KONOJO    AS    O    KEI    SAN 


V         r>v 

The  Golden  Hairpin 

On  the  day  of  O  Ko  San's  funeral  her  mother  was 
seeing  to  the  last  attentions  paid  to  corpses,  and  smooth- 
ing her  hair  with  the  golden  pin  given  to  Ko  San  or 
O  Ko1  by  Saito  in  behalf  of  his  son  Konojo.  When 
the  body  had  been  placed  in  its  coffin,  the  mother  thrust 
the  pin  into  the  girl's  hair,  saying  : 

*  Dearest  daughter,  this  is  the  pin  given  as  a  memento 
to  you  by  your  betrothed,  Konojo.  Let  it  be  a  pledge 
to  bind  your  spirits  in  death,  as  it  would  have  been  in  life  ; 
and  may  you  enjoy  endless  happiness,  I  pray.' 

In  thus  praying,  no  doubt,  O  Ko's  mother  thought 
that  Konojo  also  must  be  dead,  and  that  their  spirits 
would  meet ;  but  it  was  not  so,  for  two  months  after 
these  events  Konojo  himself,  now  eighteen  years  of  age, 
turned  up  at  Sendai,  calling  first  on  his  father's  old  friend 

c  Oh,  the  bitterness  and  misfortune  of  it  all ! '  said  the 
latter.  '  Only  two  months  ago  my  daughter  Ko  died. 
Had  you  but  come  before  then  she  would  have  been 
alive  now.  But  you  never  even  sent  a  message ;  we  never 
heard  a  word  of  your  father  or  of  your  mother.  Where 
did  you  all  go  when  you  left  here  ?  Tell  me  the  whole 

'  Sir,'  answered  the  grief-stricken  Konojo,  '  what  you 
tell  me  of  the  death  of  your  daughter,  whom  I  had  hoped 
to  marry,  sickens  my  heart,  for  I,  like  herself,  had  been 
faithful,  and  I  hoped  to  marry  her,  and  thought  daily  of 
her.  When  my  father  took  my  family  away  from  Sendai, 
he  took  us  to  Yedo  ;  and  afterwards  we  went  north  to 

1  '  O '  means  Honourable  Miss  ;  '  San  '  means  Miss.     Either  will  do  j  but  Ko  is  the 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

Yezo  Island,  where  my  father  lost  his  money  and  became 
poor.  He  died  in  poverty.  My  poor  mother  did  not 
long  survive  him.  I  have  been  working  hard  to  try  and 
earn  enough  to  marry  your  daughter  Ko  ;  but  I  have  not 
made  more  than  enough  to  pay  my  journey  down  to 
Sendai.  I  felt  it  my  duty  to  come  and  tell  you  of  my 
family's  misfortune  and  my  own.' 

The  old  samurai  was  much  touched  by  this  story. 
He  saw  that  the  most  unfortunate  of  all  had  been  Konojo. 

'  Konojo/  he  said,  '  often  have  I  thought  and  wondered 
to  myself,  Were  you  honest  or  were  you  not  ?  Now  I 
find  that  you  have  been  truly  faithful,  and  honest 
to  your  father's  pledge.  But  you  should  have  written — 
you  should  have  written  !  Because  you  did  not  do  so, 
sometimes  we  thought,  my  wife  and  I,  that  you  must  be 
dead  ;  but  we  kept  this  thought  to  ourselves,  and  never 
told  Ko  San.  Go  to  our  Butsudan  ; l  open  the  doors  of 
it,  and  burn  a  joss  stick  to  Ko  San's  mortuary  tablet. 
It  will  please  her  spirit.  She  longed  and  longed  for 
your  return,  and  died  of  that  same  longing — for  love  of 
you.  Her  spirit  will  rejoice  to  know  that  you  have  come 
back  for  her.' 

Konojo  did  as  he  was  bid. 

Bowing  reverently  three  times  before  the  mortuary 
tablet  of  O  Ko  San,  he  muttered  a  few  words  of  prayer 
in  her  behalf,  and  then  lit  the  incense-stick  and  placed 
it  before  the  tablet. 

After  this  exhibition  of  sincerity  Hasunuma  told  the 
young  fellow  that  he  should  consider  him  as  an  adopted 
son,  and  that  he  must  live  with  them.  He  could  have 

1  Family  shrine. 


The  Golden  Hairpin 

the  small  house  in  the  garden.  In  any  case,  whatever 
his  plans  for  the  future  might  be,  he  must  remain  with 
them  for  the  present. 

This  was  a  generous  offer,  worthy  of  a  samurai. 
Konojo  gratefully  accepted  it,  and  became  one  of  the 
family.  About  a  fortnight  afterwards  he  settled  himself 
in  the  little  house  at  the  end  of  the  garden.  Hasunuma, 
his  wife,  and  their  second  daughter,  O  Kei,  had  gone,  by 
command  of  the  Daimio,  to  the  Higan,  a  religious 
ceremony  held  in  March ;  Hasunuma  also  always 
worshipped  at  his  ancestral  tombs  at  this  time.  Towards 
the  dusk  of  evening  they  were  returning  in  their 
palanquins.  Konojo  stood  at  the  gate  to  see  them  pass, 
as  was  proper  and  respectful.  The  old  samurai  passed 
first,  and  was  followed  by  his  wife's  palanquin,  and  then 
by  that  of  O  Kei.  As  this  last  passed  the  gate  Konojo 
thought  he  heard  something  fall,  causing  a  metallic  sound. 
After  the  palanquin  had  passed  he  picked  it  up  without 
any  particular  attention. 

It  was  the  golden  hairpin  ;  but  of  course,  though 
Konojo's  father  had  told  him  of  the  pin,  Konojo  had  no 
idea  that  this  was  it,  and  therefore  he  thought  nothing 
more  than  that  it  must  be  O  Kei  San's.  He  went  back 
to  his  little  house,  closed  it  for  the  night,  and  was  about 
to  retire  when  he  heard  a  knock  at  the  door.  '  Who  is 
there  ? '  he  shouted.  '  What  do  you  want  ? '  There  came 
no  answer,  and  Konojo  lay  down  on  his  bed,  thinking 
himself  to  have  been  mistaken.  But  there  came  another 
knock,  louder  than  the  first ;  and  Konojo  jumped  out 
of  bed,  and  lit  the  ando.1  c  If  not  a  fox  or  a  badger,' 

1  Lamp. 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

thought  he,  *  it  must  be  some  evil  spirit  come  to  disturb 

On  opening  the  door,  with  the  ando  in  one  hand, 
and  a  stick  in  the  other,  Konojo  looked  out  into  the 
dark,  and  there,  to  his  astonishment,  he  beheld  a  vision 
of  female  beauty  the  like  of  which  he  had  never  seen 
before.  '  Who  are  you,  and  what  do  you  want  ? '  quoth 

1 1  am  O  Kei  San,  O  Ko's  younger  sister/  answered 
the  vision.  '  Though  you  have  not  seen  me,  I  have 
several  times  seen  you,  and  I  have  fallen  so  madly  in  love 
with  you  that  I  can  think  of  nothing  else  but  you.  When 
you  picked  up  my  golden  pin  to-night  on  our  return,  I 
had  dropped  it  to  serve  as  an  excuse  to  come  to  you  and 
knock.  You  must  love  me  in  return  ;  for  otherwise  I 
must  die ! ' 

This  heated  and  outrageous  declaration  scandalised 
poor  Konojo.  Moreover,  he  felt  that  it  would  be  doing 
his  kind  host  Hasunuma  a  great  injustice  to  be  receiving 
his  younger  daughter  at  this  hour  of  the  night  and  make 
love  to  her.  He  expressed  himself  forcibly  in  these  terms. 

*  If  you  will  not  love  me  as  I  love  you,  then  I  shall 
take  my  revenge/  said  O  Kei,  <  by  telling  my  father  that 
you  got  me  to  come  here  by  making  love  to  me,  and 
that  you  then  insulted  me/ 

Poor  Konojo  !  He  was  in  a  nice  mess.  What  he 
feared  most  of  all  was  that  the  girl  would  do  as  she  said, 
that  the  samurai  would  believe  her,  and  that  he  would 
be  a  disgraced  and  villainous  person.  He  gave  way, 
therefore,  to  the  girl's  request.  Night  after  night  she 
visited  him,  until  nearly  a  month  had  passed.  During 


The  Golden  Hairpin 

this  time  Konojo  had  learned  to  love  dearly  the  beautiful 
O  Kei.  Talking  to  her  one  evening,  he  said  : 

c  My  dearest  O  Kei,  I  do  not  like  this  secret  love  of 
ours.  Is  it  not  better  that  we  go  away  ?  If  I  asked  your 
father  to  give  you  to  me  in  marriage  he  would  refuse, 
because  I  was  betrothed  to  your  sister/ 

4  Yes/  answered  O  Kei  :  '  that  is  what  I  also  have 
been  wishing.  Let  us  leave  this  very  night,  and  go  to 
Ishinomaki,  the  place  where  (you  have  told  me)  lives  a 
faithful  servant  of  your  late  father's,  called  Kinzo/ 

'  Yes  :  Kinzo  is  his  name,  and  Ishinomaki  is  the  place. 
Let  us  start  as  soon  as  possible/ 

Having  thrust  a  few  clothes  into  a  bag,  they  started 
secretly  and  late  that  night,  and  duly  arrived  at  their 
destination.  Kinzo  was  delighted  to  receive  them,  and 
pleased  to  show  how  hospitable  he  could  be  to  his  late 
master's  son  and  the  beautiful  lady. 

They  lived  very  happily  for  a  year.  Then  one  day 
O  Kei  said: 

' 1  think  we  ought  to  return  to  my  parents  now. 
If  they  were  angry  with  us  at  first  they  will  have  got 
over  the  worst  of  it.  We  have  never  written.  They 
must  be  getting  anxious  as  to  my  fate  as  they  grow 
older.  Yes  :  we  ought  to  go/ 

Konojo  agreed.  Long  had  he  felt  the  injustice  he 
was  doing  Hasunuma. 

Next  day  they  found  themselves  back  in  Sendai,  and 
Konojo  could  not  help  feeling  a  little  nervous  as  he 
approached  the  samurai's  house.  They  stopped  at  the 
outer  gate,  and  O  Kei  said  to  Konojo,  *  I  think  it  will 
be  better  for  you  to  go  in  and  see  my  father  and  mother 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

first.  If  they  get  very  angry  show  them  this  golden 

Konojo  stepped  boldly  up  to  the  door,  and  asked  for 
an  interview  with  the  samurai. 

Before  the  servant  had  time  to  return,  Konojo  heard 
the  old  man  shout,  '  Konojo  San  !  Why,  of  course  ! 
Bring  the  boy  in  at  once/  and  he  himself  came  out  to 
welcome  him. 

*  My  dear  boy/  said  the  samurai,  c  right  glad  am  I  to 
see  you  back  again.     I  am  sorry  you  did  not  find  your 
life  with  us  good  enough.     You  might  have  said   you 
were  going.     But  there — I  suppose  you  take  after  your 
father     in     these     matters,     and     prefer     to     disappear 
mysteriously.     You  are  welcome  back,  at  all  events/ 

Konojo  was  astonished  at  this  speech,  and  answered  : 

*  But,  sir,  I  have  come  to  beg  pardon  for  my  sin/ 

*  What  sin  have  you  committed  ? '  queried  the  samurai 
in  great  surprise,  and  drawing  himself  up,  in  a  dignified 

Konojo  then  gave  a  full  account  of  his  love-affair  with 
O  Kei.  From  beginning  to  end  he  told  it  all,  and  as  he 
proceeded  the  samurai  showed  signs  of  impatience. 

*  Do  not  joke,  sir  !     My  daughter  O  Kei  San  is  not  a 
subject  for  jokes  and  untruths.     She  has  been  as  one  dead 
for  over  a  year — so  ill  that  we  have  with  difficulty  forced 
gruel    into    her  mouth.     Moreover,  she    has  spoken    no 
word  and  shown  no  sign  of  life/ 

*  I  am  neither  stating  what  is  untrue  nor  joking/  said 
Konojo.     '  If  you  but  send  outside,  you  will  find  O  Kei 
in  the  palanquin,  in  which  I  left  her.' 

A  servant  was  immediately  sent  to  see,  and  returned, 


The  Golden  Hairpin 

stating  that  there  was  neither  palanquin  nor  any  one  at 
the  gate. 

Konojo,  seeing  that  the  samurai  was  now  beginning  to 
look  perplexed  and  angry,  drew  the  golden  pin  from  his 
clothes,  saying  : 

'  See  !  if  you  doubt  me  and  think  I  am  lying,  here  is 
the  pin  which  O  Kei  told  me  to  give  you  ! ' 

c  Bik-ku-ri-shi-ta- ! ' l  exclaimed  O  Kei's  mother.  *  How 
came  this  pin  into  your  hands  ?  I  myself  put  it  into  Ko 
San's  coffin  just  before  it  was  closed/ 

The  samurai  and  Konojo  stared  at  each  other,  and  the 
mother  at  both.  Neither  knew  what  to  think,  or  what  to 
say  or  do.  Imagine  the  general  surprise  when  the  sick  O 
Kei  walked  into  the  room,  having  risen  from  her  bed  as  if 
she  had  never  been  ill  for  a  moment.  She  was  the  picture 
of  health  and  beauty. 

c  How  is  this  ? '  asked  the  samurai,  almost  shouting. 
'  How  is  it,  O  Kei,  that  you  have  come  from  your  sick- 
bed dressed  and  with  your  hair  done  and  looking  as  if  you 
had  never  known  a  moment  of  illness  ?  ' 

'  I  am  not  O  Kei,  but  the  spirit  of  O  Ko/  was  the 
answer.  '  I  was  most  unfortunate  in  dying  before  the 
return  of  Konojo  San,  for  had  I  lived  until  then  I  should 
have  become  quite  well  and  been  married  to  him.  As  it 
was,  my  spirit  was  unhappy.  It  took  the  form  of  my 
dear  sister  O  Kei,  and  for  a  year  has  lived  happily  in  her 
body  with  Konojo.  It  is  appeased  now,  and  about  to 
take  its  real  rest/ 

'  There  is  one  condition,  however,  Konojo,  which  I 
must  make,'  said  the  girl,  turning  to  him.  '  You  must 

1  An  exclamation,  such  as  *  Great  Scot ! ' 

9  2 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

marry  my  sister  O  Kei.  If  you  do  this  my  spirit  will  rest 
truly  in  peace,  and  then  O  Kei  will  become  well  and 
strong.  Will  you  promise  to  marry  O  Kei  ? ' 

The  old  samurai,  his  wife,  and  Konojo  were  all  amazed 
at  this.  The  appearance  of  the  girl  was  that  of  O  Kei  ; 
but  the  voice  and  manners  were  those  of  O  Ko.  Then, 
there  was  the  golden  hairpin  as  further  proof.  The  mother 
knew  it  well.  She  had  placed  it  in  Ko's  hair  just  before 
the  tub  coffin  was  closed.  Nobody  could  undeceive  her 
on  that  point. 

*  But,'  said  the  samurai  at  last,  c  O  Ko  has  been  dead 
and  buried  for  more  than  a  year  now.  That  you  should 
appear  to  us  puzzles  us  all.  Why  should  you  trouble 
us  so  ? ' 

' 1  have  explained  already,'  resumed  the  girl.  '  My 
spirit  could  not  rest  until  it  had  lived  with  Konojo,  whom 
it  knew  to  be  faithful.  It  has  done  this  now,  and  is 
prepared  to  rest.  My  only  desire  is  to  see  Konojo  marry 
my  sister.' 

Hasunuma,  his  wife,  and  Konojo  held  a  consultation. 
They  were  quite  prepared  that  O  Kei  should  marry,  and 
Konojo  did  not  object. 

All  things  being  settled,  the  ghost-girl  held  out  her 
hand  to  Konojo  saying  : 

1  This  is  the  last  time  you  will  touch  the  hand  of  O 
Ko.  Farewell,  my  dear  parents  !  Farewell  to  you  all ! 
I  am  about  to  pass  away.' 

Then  she  fainted  away,  and  seemed  dead,  and  remained 
thus  for  half  an  hour  ;  while  the  others,  overcome  with 
the  strange  and  weird  things  which  they  had  seen  and 
heard,  sat  round  her,  hardly  uttering  a  word. 


The  Golden  Hairpin 

At  the  end  of  half  an  hour  the  body  came  to  life,  and 
standing  up,  said  : 

4  Dear  parents,  have  no  more  fear  for  me.  I  am 
perfectly  well  again  ;  but  I  have  no  idea  how  I  got  down 
from  my  sick-room  in  this  costume,  or  how  it  is  that  I 
feel  so  well/ 

Several  questions  were  put  to  her  ;  but  it  was  quite 
evident  that  O  Kei  knew  nothing  of  what  had  happened — 
nothing  of  the  spirit  of  O  Ko  San,  or  of  the  golden  hairpin ! 

A  week  later  she  and  Konojo  were  married,  and  the 
golden  hairpin  was  given  to  a  shrine  at  Shiogama,  to  which, 
until  quite  recently,  crowds  used  to  go  and  worship. 




ABOUT  one  thousand  years  ago  (but  according  to  the 
dates  of  the  story  744  years  ago)  the  temple  of  '  San-jn- 
san-gen  Do'  was  founded.  That  was  in  1132.  'San-ju- 
san-gen  Do'  means  hall  of  thirty-three  spaces;  and 
there  are  said  to  be  over  33,333  figures  of  the  Goddess 
Kwannon,  the  Goddess  of  Mercy,  in  the  temple  to-day. 
Before  the  temple  was  built,  in  a  village  near  by  stood  a 
willow  tree  of  great  size.  It  marked  the  playing-ground 
of  all  the  village  children,  who  swung  on  its  branches,  and 
climbed  on  its  limbs.  It  afforded  shade  to  the  aged  in 
the  heat  of  summer,  and  in  the  evenings,  when  work  was 
done,  many  were  the  village  lads  and  lasses  who  vowed 
eternal  love  under  its  branches.  The  tree  seemed  an 
influence  for  good  to  all.  Even  the  weary  traveller  could 
sleep  peacefully  and  almost  dry  under  its  branches.  Alas, 
even  in  those  times  men  were  often  ruthless  with  regard 
to  trees.  One  day  the  villagers  announced  an  intention 
to  cut  it  down  and  use  it  to  build  a  bridge  across  the 

There   lived   in    the   village    a   young  farmer    named 



,  Of  THE 



The  Spirit  of  the  Willow  Tree 

Heitaro,  a  great  favourite,  who  had  lived  near  the  old 
tree  all  his  days,  as  his  forefathers  had  done  ;  and  he  was 
greatly  against  cutting  it  down. 

Such  a  tree  should  be  respected,  thought  he.  Had  it 
not  braved  the  storms  of  hundreds  of  years  ?  In  the  heat 
of  summer  what  pleasure  it  afforded  the  children  !  Did 
it  not  give  to  the  weary  shelter,  and  to  the  love-smitten 
a  sense  of  romance  ?  All  these  thoughts  Heitaro  im- 
pressed upon  the  villagers.  Sooner  than  approve  your 
cutting  it  down/  he  said,  '  I  will  give  you  as  many  of  my 
own  trees  as  you  require  to  build  the  bridge.  You  must 
leave  this  dear  old  willow  alone  for  ever/ 

The  villagers  readily  agreed.  They  also  had  a  secret 
veneration  for  the  old  tree. 

Heitaro  was  delighted,  and  readily  found  wood  with 
which  to  build  the  bridge. 

Some  days  later  Heitaro,  returning  from  his  work, 
found  standing  by  the  willow  a  beautiful  girl. 

Instinctively  he  bowed  to  her.  She  returned  the  bow. 
They  spoke  together  of  the  tree,  its  age  and  beauty. 
They  seemed,  in  fact,  to  be  drawn  towards  each  other  by 
a  common  sympathy.  Heitaro  was  sorry  when  she  said 
that  she  must  be  going,  and  bade  him  good-day.  That 
evening  his  mind  was  far  from  being  fixed  on  the  ordinary 
things  of  life.  '  Who  was  the  lady  under  the  willow 
tree  ?  How  I  wish  I  could  see  her  again ! ' '  thought  he. 
There  was  no  sleep  for  Heitaro  that  night.  He  had 
caught  the  fever  of  love. 

Next  day  he  was  at  his  work  early  ;  and  he  remained 
at  it  all  day,  working  doubly  hard,  so  as  to  try  and  forget 
the  lady  of  the  willow  tree  ;  but  on  his  way  home  in  the 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

evening,  behold,  there  was  the  lady  again  !  This  time 
she  came  forward  to  greet  him  in  the  most  friendly  way. 

'  Welcome,  good  friend  ! '  she  said.  '  Come  and  rest 
under  the  branches  of  the  willow  you  love  so  well,  for 
you  must  be  tired.1 

Heitaro  readily  accepted  this  invitation,  and  not  only 
did  he  rest,  but  also  he  declared  his  love. 

Day  by  day  after  this  the  mysterious  girl  (whom  no 
others  had  seen)  used  to  meet  Heitaro,  and  at  last  she 
promised  to  marry  him  if  he  asked  no  questions  as  to  her 
parents  or  friends.  c  I  have  none/  she  said.  '  I  can  only 
promise  to  be  a  good  and  faithful  wife,  and  tell  you  that 
I  love  you  with  all  my  heart  and  soul.  Call  me,  then, 
"  Higo,"  J  and  I  will  be  your  wife/ 

Next  day  Heitaro  took  Higo  to  his  house,  and  they 
were  married.  A  son  was  born  to  them  in  a  little  less 
than  a  year,  and  became  their  absorbing  joy.  There  was 
not  a  moment  of  their  spare  time  in  which  either  Heitaro 
or  his  wife  was  not  playing  with  the  child,  whom  they 
called  Chiyodo.  It  is  doubtful  if  a  more  happy  home 
could  have  been  found  in  all  Japan  than  the  house  of 
Heitaro,  with  his  good  wife  Higo  and  their  beautiful  child. 

Alas,  where  in  this  world  has  complete  happiness  ever 
been  known  to  last  ?  Even  did  the  gods  permit  this, 
the  laws  of  man  would  not. 

When  Chiyodo  had  reached  the  age  of  five  years — 
the  most  beautiful  boy  in  the  neighbourhood — the  ex- 
Emperor  Toba  decided  to  build  in  Kyoto  an  immense 
temple  to  Kwannon.  He  would  contribute  1001  images 
of  the  Goddess  of  Mercy.  (Now,  in  1907,  as  we  said  at 

1  Meaning  goithe  or  willow. 

The  Spirit  of  the  Willow  Tree 

the  beginning,  this  temple  is  known  as  '  San-ja-san- 
gen  Do,'  and  contains  33,333  images.) 

The  ex-Emperor  Toba's  wish  having  become  known, 
orders  were  given  by  the  authorities  to  collect  timber 
for  the  building  of  the  vast  temple  ;  and  so  it  came  to 
pass  that  the  days  of  the  big  willow  tree  were  numbered, 
for  it  would  be  wanted,  with  many  others,  to  form  the 

Heitaro  tried  to  save  the  tree  again  by  offering  every 
other  he  had  on  his  land  for  nothing  ;  but  that  was  in 
vain.  Even  the  villagers  became  anxious  to  see  their 
willow  tree  built  into  the  temple.  It  would  bring  them 
good  luck,  they  thought,  and  in  any  case  be  a  handsome 
gift  of  theirs  towards  the  great  temple. 

The  fatal  time  arrived.  One  night,  when  Heitaro 
and  his  wife  and  child  had  retired  to  rest  and  were 
sleeping,  Heitaro  was  awakened  by  the  sound  of  axes 
chopping.  To  his  astonishment,  he  found  his  beloved 
wife  sitting  up  in  her  bed,  gazing  earnestly  at  him,  while 
tears  rolled  down  her  cheeks  and  she  was  sobbing  bitterly. 

'  My  dearest  husband,'  she  said  with  choking  voice, 
*  pray  listen  to  what  I  tell  you  now,  and  do  not  doubt 
me.  This  is,  unhappily,  not  a  dream.  When  we  married 
I  begged  you  not  to  ask  me  my  history,  and  you  have 
never  done  so  ;  but  I  said  I  would  tell  you  some  day 
if  there  should  be  a  real  occasion  to  do  so.  Unhappily, 
that  occasion  has  now  arrived,  my  dear  husband.  I  am 
no  less  a  thing  than  the  spirit  of  the  willow  tree  you 
loved,  and  so  generously  saved  six  years  ago.  It  was 
to  repay  you  for  this  great  kindness  that  I  appeared  to 
you  in  human  form  under  the  tree,  hoping  that  I  could 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

live  with  you  and  make  you  happy  for  your  whole  life. 
Alas,  it  cannot  be !  They  are  cutting  down  the  willow. 
How  I  feel  every  stroke  of  their  axes !  I  must 
return  to  die,  for  I  am  part  of  it.  My  heart  breaks  to 
think  also  of  leaving  my  darling  child  Chiyodo  and  of 
his  great  sorrow  when  he  knows  that  his  mother  is  no 
longer  in  the  world.  Comfort  him,  dearest  husband ! 
He  is  old  enough  and  strong  enough  to  be  with  you 
now  without  a  mother  and  yet  not  suffer.  I  wish  you 
both  long  lives  of  prosperity.  Farewell,  my  dearest  ! 
I  must  be  off  to  the  willow,  for  I  hear  them  striking 
with  their  axes  harder  and  harder,  and  it  weakens  me 
each  blow  they  give/ 

Heitaro  awoke  his  child  just  as  Higo  disappeared, 
wondering  to  himself  if  it  were  not  a  dream.  No  :  it 
was  no  dream.  Chiyodo,  awaking,  stretched  his  arms 
in  the  direction  his  mother  had  gone,  crying  bitterly  and 
imploring  her  to  come  back. 

'  My  darling  child,'  said  Heitaro,  *  she  has  gone. 
She  cannot  come  back.  Come  :  let  us  dress,  and  go  and 
see  her  funeral.  Your  mother  was  the  spirit  of  the  Great 

A  little  later,  at  the  break  of  day,  Heitaro  took 
Chiyodo  by  the  hand  and  led  him  to  the  tree.  On 
reaching  it  they  found  it  down,  and  already  lopped  of 
its  branches.  The  feelings  of  Heitaro  may  be  well 

Strange  !  In  spite  of  united  efforts,  the  men  were 
unable  to  move  the  stem  a  single  inch  towards  the  river, 
in  which  it  was  to  be  floated  to  Kyoto. 

On  seeing  this,  Heitaro  addressed  the  men. 


The  Spirit  of  the  Willow  Tree 

'  My  friends/  said  he,  *  the  dead  trunk  of  the  tree 
which  you  are  trying  to  move  contains  the  spirit  of 
my  wife.  Perhaps,  if  you  will  allow  my  little  son 
Chiyodo  to  help  you,  it  will  be  more  easy  for  you  ;  and 
he  would  like  to  help  in  showing  his  last  respects  to  his 

The  woodcutters  were  fully  agreeable,  and,  much  to 
their  astonishment,  as  Chiyodo  came  to  the  back  end  of 
the  log  and  pushed  it  with  his  little  hand,  the  timber 
glided  easily  towards  the  river,  his  father  singing  the 
while  an  '  Uta.' 1  There  is  a  well-known  song  or  ballad 
in  the  '  Uta '  style  said  to  have  sprung  from  this  event ; 
it  is  sung  to  the  present  day  by  men  drawing  heavy 
weights  or  doing  hard  labour  : — 

Muzan  naru  kana 

Motowa  kumanono  yanagino  tsuyu  de 
Sodate-agetaru  kono  midorigo  wa 
Yoi,  Yoi,  Yoito  na  !  2 

In  Wakanoura  the  labourers  sing  a  working  or  hauling 
song,  which  also  is  said  to  have  sprung  from  this  story  of 
the  '  Yanagi  no  Se'  : — 

Wakano  urani  wa  meishoga  gozaru 
Ichini  Gongen 
Nini  Tamatsushima 

1  Poetical  song. 

2  Is'it  not  sad  to  see  the  little  fellow, 

Who  sprang  from  the  dew  of  the  Kumano  Willow, 

And  is  thus  far  budding  well  ? 

Heave  ho,  heave  ho,  pull  hard,  my  lads. 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

Sanni  Sagari  Matsu 
Shini  Shiogama  yo 
¥oi,  Yoi,  yoi  to  na.1 

A  third  '  Uta '  sprang  from  this  story,  and  is  often 
applied  to  small  children  helping. 

The  waggon  could  not  be  drawn  when  it  came  to  the 
front  of  Heitaro's  house,  so  his  little  five-year-old  boy 
Chiyod5  was  obliged  to  help,  and  they  sang  : — 

Muzan  naru  kana 

Motowa  Kumanono  yanagino  tsuyu  de 
Sodate-agetaru  kono  midorigo  wa 
Yoi,  yoi,  yoi  to  na.2 

1  There  are  famous  places  in  Wakanoura 
First  Gongen 

Second  Tamatsushima 

Third,  the  pine  tree  with  its  hanging  branches 

Fourth  comes  Shiogama 

Is  it  not  good,  good,  good  ? 

2  Is  it  not  sad  to  see  the  little  fellow, 

Who  sprang  from  the  dew  of  the  Kumano  Willow, 

And  is  thus  far  budding  well  ? 

Heave  ho,  heave  ho,  pull  hard,  my  lads. 


%&l  (^^^=s" 
G4#l ' '  '"""*  " 





IN  the  wild  province  of  Yamato3  or  very  near  to  its 
borders,  is  a  beautiful  mountain  known  as  Yoshino 
yama.  It  is  not  only  known  for  its  abundance  of 
cherry  blossom  in  the  spring,  but  it  is  also  celebrated  in 
relation  to  more  than  one  bloody  battle.  In  fact,  Yoshino 
might  be  called  the  staging -place  of  historical  battles. 
Many  say,  when  in  Yoshino,  '  We  are  walking  on  history, 
because  Yoshino  itself  is  history/  Near  Yoshino  mountain 
lay  another,  known  as  Tsubosaka  ;  and  between  them  is 
the  Valley  of  Shimizutani,  in  which  is  the  Violet  Well. 

At  the  approach  of  spring  in  this  tani2  the  grass 
assumes  a  perfect  emerald  green,  while  moss  grows 
luxuriantly  over  rocks  and  boulders.  Towards  the  end 
of  April  great  patches  of  deep-purple  wild  violets  show 
up  in  the  lower  parts  of  the  valley,  while  up  the  sides 
pink  and  scarlet  azaleas  grow  in  a  manner  which  beggars 

Some  thirty  years  ago  a  beautiful  girl  of  the  age 
of  seventeen,  named  Shinge,  was  wending  her  way  up 

1  Told  to  me  by  Shofukutei  Fukuga.  2  Hollow. 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

Shimizutani,  accompanied  by  four  servants.  All  were  out 
for  a  picnic,  and  all,  of  course,  were  in  search  of  wild- 
flowers.  O  Shinge  San  was  the  daughter  of  a  Daimio 
who  lived  in  the  neighbourhood.  Every  year  she  was  in 
the  habit  of  having  this  picnic,  and  coming  to  Shimizu- 
tani at  the  end  of  April  to  hunt  for  her  favourite  flower, 
the  purple  violet  (sumire). 

The  five  girls,  carrying  bamboo  baskets,  were  eagerly 
collecting  flowers,  enjoying  the  occupation  as  only 
Japanese  girls  can.  They  raced  in  their  rivalry  to  have 
the  prettiest  basketful.  There  not  being  so  many  purple 
violets  as  were  wanted,  O  Shinge  San  said,  *  Let  us  go 
to  the  northern  end  of  the  valley,  where  the  Violet 
Well  is.' 

Naturally  the  girls  assented,  and  ofF  they  all  ran,  each 
eager  to  be  there  first,  laughing  as  they  went. 

O  Shinge  outran  the  rest,  and  arrived  before  any  of 
them  ;  and,  espying  a  huge  bunch  of  her  favourite 
flowers,  of  the  deepest  purple  and  very  sweet  in  smell, 
she  flung  herself  down,  anxious  to  pick  them  before 
the  others  came.  As  she  stretched  out  her  delicate 
hand  to  grasp  them — oh,  horror  ! — a  great  mountain 
snake  raised  his  head  from  beneath  his  shady  retreat. 
So  frightened  was  O  Shinge  San,  she  fainted  away  on 
the  spot. 

In  the  meanwhile  the  other  girls  had  given  up  the  race, 
thinking  it  would  please  their  mistress  to  arrive  first. 
They  picked  what  they  most  fancied,  chased  butterflies, 
and  arrived  fully  fifteen  minutes  after  O  Shinge  San  had 

On  seeing  her  thus  laid  out  on  the  grass,  a  great  fear 



Ghost  of  the  Violet  Well 

filled  them  that  she  was  dead,  and  their  alarm  increased 
when  they  saw  a  large  green  snake  coiled  near  her 

They  screamed,  as  do  most  girls  amid  such  circum- 
stances ;  but  one  of  them,  Matsu,  who  did  not  lose  her 
head  so  much  as  the  others,  threw  her  basket  of  flowers 
at  the  snake,  which,  not  liking  the  bombardment,  uncoiled 
himself  and  slid  away,  hoping  to  find  a  quieter  place. 
Then  all  four  girls  bent  over  their  mistress.  They  rubbed 
her  hands  and  threw  water  on  her  face,  but  without 
effect.  O  Shinge's  beautiful  complexion  became  paler 
and  paler,  while  her  red  lips  assumed  the  purplish  hue 
that  is  a  sign  of  approaching  death.  The  girls  were 
heartbroken.  Tears  coursed  down  their  faces.  They 
did  not  know  what  to  do,  for  they  could  not  carry  her. 
What  a  terrible  state  of  affairs  ! 

Just  at  that  moment  they  heard  a  man's  voice  close 
behind  them  : 

*  Do  not  be  so  sad  !  I  can  restore  the  young  lady  to 
consciousness  if  you  will  allow  me.' 

They  turned,  and  saw  a  remarkably  handsome  youth 
standing  on  the  grass  not  ten  feet  away.  He  appeared 
as  an  angel  from  Heaven. 

Without  saying  more,  the  young  man  approached  the 
prostrate  figure  of  O  Shinge,  and,  taking  her  hand  in  his, 
felt  her  pulse.  None  of  the  servants  liked  to  interfere  in 
this  breach  of  etiquette.  He  had  not  asked  permission  ; 
but  his  manner  was  so  gentle  and  sympathetic  that  they 
could  say  nothing. 

The  stranger  examined  O  Shinge  carefully,  keeping 
silence.  Having  finished,  he  took  out  of  his  pocket  a 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

little  case  of  medicine,  and,  putting  some  white  powder 
from  this  into  a  paper,  said  : 

*  I  am  a  doctor  from  a  neighbouring  village,  and  I 
have  just  been  to  see  a  patient  at  the  end  of  the  valley. 
By  good  fortune  I  returned  this  way,  and  am  able  to  help 
you  and  save  your  mistress's  life.  Give  her  this  medicine, 
while  I  hunt  for  and  kill  the  snake/ 

O  Matsu  San  forced  the  medicine,  along  with  a  little 
water,  into  her  mistress's  mouth,  and  in  a  few  minutes 
she  began  to  recover. 

Shortly  after  this  the  doctor  returned,  carrying  the 
dead  snake  on  a  stick. 

'  Is  this  the  snake  you  saw  lying  by  your  young 
mistress  ? '  he  asked. 

'  Yes,  yes/  they  cried  :   '  that  is  the  horrible  thing.' 

'  Then/  said  the  doctor,  '  it  is  lucky  I  came,  for  it  is 
very  poisonous,  and  I  fear  your  mistress  would  soon  have 
died  had  I  not  arrived  and  been  able  to  give  her  the 
medicine.  Ah !  I  see  that  it  is  already  doing  the 
beautiful  young  lady  good.' 

On  hearing  the  young  man's  voice  O  Shinge  San  sat  up. 

{Pray,  sir,  may  I  ask  to  whom  I  am  indebted  for 
bringing  me  thus  back  to  life  ? '  she  asked. 

The  doctor  did  not  answer,  but  in  a  proud  and  manly 
way  contented  himself  by  smiling,  and  bowing  low  and 
respectfully  after  the  Japanese  fashion  ;  and  departed  as 
quietly  and  unassumingly  as  he  had  arrived,  disappearing 
in  the  sleepy  mist  which  always  appears  in  the  afternoons 
of  spring  time  in  the  Shimizu  Valley. 

The  four  girls  helped  their  mistress  home  ;  but  in- 
deed she  wanted  little  assistance,  for  the  medicine  had 


Ghost  of  the  Violet  Well 

done  her  much  good,  and  she  felt  quite  recovered.  O 
Shinge's  father  and  mother  were  very  grateful  for  their 
daughter's  recovery ;  but  the  name  of  the  handsome 
young  doctor  remained  a  secret  to  all  except  the  servant 
girl  Matsu. 

For  four  days  O  Shinge  remained  quite  well ;  but  on 
the  fifth  day,  for  some  cause  or  another,  she  took  to  her 
bed,  saying  she  was  sick.  She  did  not  sleep,  and  did  not 
wish  to  talk,  but  only  to  think,  and  think,  and  think. 
Neither  father  nor  mother  could  make  out  what  her 
illness  was.  There  was  no  fever. 

Doctors  were  sent  for,  one  after  another  ;  but  none 
of  them  could  say  what  was  the  matter.  All  they  saw 
was  that  she  daily  became  weaker.  Asano  Zembei, 
Shinge's  father,  was  heartbroken,  and  so  was  his  wife. 
They  had  tried  everything  and  failed  to  do  the  slightest 
good  to  poor  O  Shinge. 

One  day  O  Matsu  San  craved  an  interview  with 
Asano  Zembei — who,  by  the  by,  was  the  head  of  all  his 
family,  a  Daimio  and  great  grandee.  Zembei  was  not 
accustomed  to  listen  to  servants'  opinions  ;  but,  knowing 
that  O  Matsu  was  faithful  to  his  daughter  and  loved  her 
very  nearly  as  much  as  he  did  himself,  he  consented  to 
hear  her,  and  O  Matsu  was  ushered  into  his  presence. 

'  Oh,  master,'  said  the  servant,  '  if  you  will  let  me  find 
a  doctor  for  my  young  mistress,  I  can  promise  to  find  one 
who  will  cure  her/ 

'  Where  on  earth  will  you  find  such  a  doctor  ?  Have 
we  not  had  all  the  best  doctors  in  the  province  and  some 
even  from  the  capital  ?  Where  do  you  propose  to  look 
for  one  ? ' 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

O  Matsu  answered  : 

'  Ah,  master,  my  mistress  is  not  suffering  from  an 
illness  which  can  be  cured  by  medicines — not  even  if  they 
be  given  by  the  quart.  Nor  are  doctors  of  much  use. 
There  is,  however,  one  that  I  know  of  who  could  cure 
her.  My  mistress's  illness  is  of  the  heart.  The  doctor 
I  know  of  can  cure  her.  It  is  for  love  of  him  that  her 
heart  suffers  ;  it  has  suffered  so  from  the  day  when  he 
saved  her  life  from  the  snake-bite.' 

Then  O  Matsu  told  particulars  of  the  adventure  at 
the  picnic  which  had  not  been  told  before, — for  O  Shinge 
had  asked  her  servants  to  say  as  little  as  possible,  fear- 
ing they  would  not  be  allowed  to  go  to  the  Valley  of  the 
Violet  Well  again. 

'  What  is  the  name  of  this  doctor  ? '  asked  Asano 
Zembei,  *  and  who  is  he  ?  ' 

'  Sir/  answered  O  Matsu,  '  he  is  Doctor  Yoshisawa, 
a  very  handsome  young  man,  of  most  courtly  manners  ; 
but  he  is  of  low  birth,  being  only  of  the  eta.1  Please 
think,  master,  of  my  young  mistress's  burning  heart,  full 
of  love  for  the  man  who  saved  her  life — and  no  .wonder, 
for  he  is  very  handsome  and  has  the  manners  of  a  proud 
samurai.  The  only  cure  for  your  daughter,  sir,  is  to  be 
allowed  to  marry  her  lover.' 

O  Shinge's  mother  felt  very  sad  when  she  heard  this. 
She  knew  well  (perhaps  by  experience)  of  the  illnesses 
caused  by  love.  She  wept,  and  said  to  Zembei  : 

*  I  am  quite  with  you  in  sorrow,  my  lord,  at  the 
terrible  trouble  that  has  come  to  us  ;  but  I  cannot  see 
my  daughter  die  thus.  Let  us  tell  her  we  will  make 

1  The  eta  are  the  lowest  people  or  caste  in  Japan — skinners  and  killers  of  animals. 


Ghost  of  the  Violet  Well 

inquiries  about  the  man  she  loves,  and  see  if  we  can 
make  him  our  son-in-law.  In  any  case,  it  is  the  custom 
to  make  full  inquiries,  which  will  extend  over  some  days  ; 
and  in  this  time  our  daughter  may  recover  somewhat  and 
get  strong  enough  to  hear  the  news  that  we  cannot  accept 
her  lover  as  our  son-in-law.' 

Zembei  agreed  to  this,  and  O  Matsu  promised  to  say 
nothing  to  her  mistress  of  the  interview. 

O  Shinge  San  was  told  by  her  mother  that  her  father, 
though  he  had  not  consented  to  the  engagement,  had 
promised  to  make  inquiries  about  Yoshisawa. 

O  Shinge  took  food  and  regained  much  strength  on 
this  news  ;  and  when  she  was  strong  enough,  some  ten 
days  later,  she  was  called  into  her  father's  presence, 
accompanied  by  her  mother. 

'  My  sweet  daughter/  said  Zembei, '  I  have  made  careful 
inquiries  about  Dr.  Yoshisawa,  your  lover.  Deeply  as  it 
grieves  me  to  say  so,  it  is  impossible  that  I,  your  father, 
the  head  of  our  whole  family,  can  consent  to  your 
marriage  with  one  of  so  low  a  family  as  Yoshisawa,  who, 
in  spite  of  his  own  goodness,  has  sprung  from  the  eta.  I 
must  hear  no  more  of  it.  Such  a  contract  would  be 
impossible  for  the  Asano  family.' 

No  one  ventured  to  say  a  word  to  this.  In  Japan  the 
head  of  a  family's  decision  is  final. 

Poor  O  Shinge  bowed  to  her  father,  and  went  to  her 
own  room,  where  she  wept  bitterly ;  O  Matsu,  the 
faithful  servant,  doing  her  best  to  console  her. 

Next  morning,  to  the  astonishment  of  the  household, 
O  Shinge  San  could  nowhere  be  found.  Search  was  made 
everywhere  ;  even  Dr.  Yoshisawa  joined  in  the  search. 

25  4 

Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

On  the  third  day  after  the  disappearance  one  of  the 
searchers  looked  down  the  Violet  Well,  and  saw  poor  O 
Shinge's  floating  body. 

Two  days  later  she  was  buried,  and  on  that  day 
Yoshisawa  threw  himself  into  the  well. 

The  people  say  that  even  now,  on  wet,  stormy  nights, 
they  see  the  ghost  of  O  Shinge  San  floating  over  the  well, 
while  some  declare  that  they  hear  the  sound  of  a  young 
man  weeping  in  the  Valley  of  Shimizutani. 



LONG  ago,  at  a  small  and  out-of-the-way  village  called 
Kumedamura,  about  eight  miles  to  the  south-east  of  Sakai 
city,  in  Idsumo  Province,  there  was  made  a  tomb,  the 
Fuezuka  or  Flute's  Tomb,  and  to  this  day  many  people 
go  thither  to  offer  up  prayer  and  to  worship,  bringing 
with  them  flowers  and  incense-sticks,  which  are  deposited 
as  offerings  to  the  spirit  of  the  man  who  was  buried  there. 
All  the  year  round  people  flock  to  it.  There  is  no  season 
at  which  they  pray  more  particularly  than  at  another. 

The  Fuezuka  tomb  is  situated  on  a  large  pond  called 
Kumeda,  some  five  miles  in  circumference,  and  all  the 
places  around  this  pond  are  known  as  of  Kumeda  Pond, 
from  which  the  village  of  Kumeda  took  its  name. 

Whose  tomb  can  it  be  that  attracts  such  sympathy? 
The'  tomb  itself  is  a  simple  stone  pillar,  with  nothing 
artistic  to  recommend  it.  Neither  is  the  surrounding 
scenery  interesting  ;  it  is  flat  and  ugly  until  the  mountains 
of  Kiushu  are  reached.  I  must  tell,  as  well  as  I  can,  the 
story  of  whose  tomb  it  is. 

1  Told  to  me  by  Fukuga. 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

Between  seventy  and  eighty  years  ago  there  lived  near 
the  pond  in  the  village  of  Kumedamura  a  blind  amma 1 
called  Yoichi.  Yoichi  was  extremely  popular  in  the 
neighbourhood,  being  very  honest  and  kind,  besides  being 
quite  a  professor  in  the  art  of  massage  —  a  treatment 
necessary  to  almost  every  Japanese.  It  would  be  difficult 
indeed  to  find  a  village  that  had  not  its  amma. 

Yoichi  was  blind,  and,  like  all  men  of  his  calling,  carried 
an  iron  wand  or  stick,  also  a  flute  or  *  fuezuka ' — the  stick 
to  feel  his  way  about  with,  and  the  flute  to  let  people  know 
he  was  ready  for  employment.  So  good  an  amma  was 
Yoichi,  he  was  nearly  always  employed,  and,  consequently, 
fairly  well  ofF,  having  a  little  house  of  his  own  and  one 
servant,  who  cooked  his  food. 

A  little  way  from  Yoichi's  house  was  a  small  teahouse, 
placed  upon  the  banks  of  the  pond.  One  evening  (April 
5  ;  cherry-blossom  season),  just  at  dusk,  Yoichi  was  on 
his  way  home,  having  been  at  work  all  day.  His  road 
led  him  by  the  pond.  There  he  heard  a  girl  crying 
piteously.  He  stopped  and  listened  for  a  few  moments, 
and  gathered  from  what  he  heard  that  the  girl  was  about 
to  drown  herself.  Just  as  she  entered  the  lake  Yoichi 
caught  her  by  the  dress  and  dragged  her  out. 

'  Who  are  you,  and  why  in  such  trouble  as  to  wish  to 
die  ? '  he  asked. 

<  I  am  Asayo,  the  teahouse  girl/  she  answered.  '  You 
know  me  quite  well.  You  must  know,  also,  that  it  is  not 
possible  for  me  to  support  myself  out  of  the  small  pittance 
which  is  paid  by  my  master.  I  have  eaten  nothing  for  two 
days  now,  and  am  tired  of  my  life.' 

1   Shampooer. 


Ghost  Story  of  the  Flute's  Tomb 

'  Come,  come  ! '  said  the  blind  man.  '  Dry  your  tears. 
I  will  take  you  to  my  house,  and  do  what  I  can  to  help 
you.  You  are  only  twenty-five  years  of  age,  and  I  am 
told  still  a  fair-looking  girl.  Perhaps  you  will  marry  ! 
In  any  case,  I  will  take  care  of  you,  and  you  must  not 
think  of  killing  yourself.  Come  with  me  now  ;  and  I 
will  see  that  you  are  well  fed,  and  that  dry  clothes 
are  given  you/ 

So  Yoichi  led  Asayo  to  his  home. 

A  few  months  found  them  wedded  to  each  other. 
Were  they  happy  ?  Well,  they  should  have  been,  for 
Yoichi  treated  his  wife  with  the  greatest  kindness  ;  but 
she  was  unlike  her  husband.  She  was  selfish,  bad- 
tempered,  and  unfaithful.  In  the  eyes  of  Japanese 
infidelity  is  the  worst  of  sins.  How  much  more,  then,  is 
it  against  the  country's  spirit  when  advantage  is  taken 
of  a  husband  who  is  blind  ? 

Some  three  months  after  they  had  been  married,  and  in 
the  heat  of  August,  there  came  to  the  village  a  company 
of  actors.  Among  them  was  Sawamura  Tamataro,  of 
some  repute  in  Asakusa. 

Asayo,  who  was  very  fond  of  a  play,  spent  much  of  her 
time  and  her  husband's  money  in  going  to  the  theatre. 
In  less  than  two  days  she  had  fallen  violently  in  love  with 
Tamataro.  She  sent  him  money,  hardly  earned  by  her 
blind  husband.  She  wrote  to  him  love-letters,  begged  him 
to  allow  her  to  come  and  visit  him,  and  generally 
disgraced  her  sex. 

Things  went  from  bad  to  worse.  The  secret  meetings 
of  Asayo  and  the  actor  scandalised  the  neighbourhood. 
As  in  most  such  cases,  the  husband  knew  nothing  about 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

them.  Frequently,  when  he  went  home,  the  actor  was 
in  his  house,  but  kept  quiet,  and  Asayo  let  him  out 
secretly,  even  going  with  him  sometimes. 

Every  one  felt  sorry  for  Yoichi  ;  but  none  liked  to 
tell  him  of  his  wife's  infidelity. 

One  day  Yoichi  went  to  shampoo  a  customer,  who 
told  him  of  Asayo's  conduct.  Yoichi  was  incredulous. 

'  But  yes  :  it  is  true/  said  the  son  of  his  customer. 
'Even  now  the  actor  Tamataro  is  with  your  wife.  So 
soon  as  you  left  your  house  he  slipped  in.  This  he 
does  every  day,  and  many  of  us  see  it.  We  all  feel 
sorry  for  you  in  your  blindness,  and  should  be  glad  to 
help  you  to  punish  her.' 

Yoichi  was  deeply  grieved,  for  he  knew  that  his 
friends  were  in  earnest ;  but,  though  blind,  he  would 
accept  no  assistance  to  convict  his  wife.  He  trudged 
home  as  fast  as  his  blindness  would  permit,  making  as 
little  noise  as  possible  with  his  staff. 

On  reaching  home  Yoichi  found  the  front  door  fastened 
from  the  inside.  He  went  to  the  back,  and  found  the 
same  thing  there.  There  was  no  way  of  getting  in 
without  breaking  a  door  and  making  a  noise.  Yoichi 
was  much  excited  now ;  for  he  knew  that  his  guilty 
wife  and  her  lover  were  inside,  and  he  would  have 
liked  to  kill  them  both.  Great  strength  came  to  him, 
and  he  raised  himself  bit  by  bit  until  he  reached  the 
top  of  the  roof.  He  intended  to  enter  the  house 
by  letting  himself  down  through  the  'tem-mado.'1 
Unfortunately,  the  straw  rope  he  used  in  doing  this  was 
rotten,  and  gave  way,  precipitating  him  below,  where  he 

1  Hole  in  the  roof  of  a  Japanese  house,  in  place  of  a  chimney. 


Ghost  Story  of  the   Flute's  Tomb 

fell  on  the  kinuta.1  He  fractured  his  skull,  and  died 

Asayo  and  the  actor,  hearing  the  noise,  went  to  see 
what  had  happened,  and  were  rather  pleased  to  find 
poor  Yoichi  dead.  They  did  not  report  the  death  until 
next  day,  when  they  said  that  Yoichi  had  fallen  down- 
stairs and  thus  killed  himself. 

They  buried  him  with  indecent  haste,  and  hardly  with 
proper  respect. 

Yoichi  having  no  children,  his  property,  according 
to  the  Japanese  law,  went  to  his  bad  wife,  and  only  a 
few  months  passed  before  Asayo  and  the  actor  were 
married.  Apparently  they  were  happy,  though  none  in 
the  village  of  Kumeda  had  any  sympathy  for  them,  all 
being  disgusted  at  their  behaviour  to  the  poor  blind 
shampooer  Yoichi. 

Months  passed  by  without  event  of  any  interest  in 
the  village.  No  one  bothered  about  Asayo  and  her 
husband  ;  and  they  bothered  about  no  one  else,  being 
sufficiently  interested  in  themselves.  The  scandal-mongers 
had  become  tired,  and,  like  all  nine -day  wonders,  the 
history  of  the  blind  amma,  Asayo,  and  Tamataro  had 
passed  into  silence. 

However,  it  does  not  do  to  be  assured  while  the  spirit 
of  the  injured  dead  goes  unavenged. 

Up  in  one  of  the  western  provinces,  at  a  small  village 
called  Minato,  lived  one  of  Yoichi's  friends,  who  was 
closely  connected  with  him.  This  was  Okuda  Ichibei. 
He  and  Yoichi  had  been  to  school  together.  They  had 
promised  when  Ichibei  went  up  to  the  north-west  always 

1  A  hard  block  of  wood  used  in  stretching  cotton  cloth. 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

to  remember  each  other,  and  to  help  each  other  in  time  of 
need,  and  when  Yoichi  had  become  blind  Ichibei  came 
down  to  Kumeda  and  helped  to  start  Yoichi  in  his 
business  of  amma,  which  he  did  by  giving  him  a  house 
to  live  in — a  house  which  had  been  bequeathed  to  Ichibei. 
Again  fate  decreed  that  it  should  be  in  Ichibei's  power 
to  help  his  friend.  At  that  time  news  travelled  very 
slowly,  and  Ichibei  had  not  immediately  heard  of  Yoichi's 
death  or  even  of  his  marriage.  Judge,  then,  of  his 
surprise,  one  night  on  awaking,  to  find,  standing  near 
his  pillow,  the  figure  of  a  man  whom  by  and  by  he 
recognised  as  Yoichi ! 

'  Why,  Yoichi !  I  am  glad  to  see  you,'  he  said  ;  '  but 
how  late  at  night  you  have  arrived  !  Why  did  you  not 
let  me  know  you  were  coming  ?  I  should  have  been  up 
to  receive  you,  and  there  would  have  been  a  hot  meal 
ready.  But  never  mind.  I  will  call  a  servant,  and 
everything  shall  be  ready  as  soon  as  possible.  In  the 
meantime  be  seated,  and  tell  me  about  yourself,  and  how 
you  travelled  so  far.  To  have  come  through  the 
mountains  and  other  wild  country  from  Kumeda  is 
hard  enough  at  best  ;  but  for  one  who  is  blind  it 
is  wonderful/ 

*  I  am  no  longer  a  living  man,'  answered  the  ghost 
of  Yoichi  (for  such  it  was).  *  I  am  indeed  your  friend 
Yoichi's  spirit,  and  I  shall  wander  about  until  I  can 
be  avenged  for  a  great  ill  which  has  been  done  me. 
I  have  come  to  beg  of  you  to  help  me,  that  my  spirit 
may  go  to  rest.  If  you  listen  I  will  tell  my  story,  and 
you  can  then  do  as  you  think  best.' 

Ichibei  was  very  much  astonished  (not  to  say  a  little 


Ghost  Story  of  the  Flute's  Tomb 

nervous)  to  know  that  he  was  in  the  presence  of  a  ghost ; 
but  he  was  a  brave  man,  and  Yoichi  had  been  his  friend. 
He  was  deeply  grieved  to  hear  of  Yoichi's  death,  and 
realised  that  the  restlessness  of  his  spirit  showed  him  to 
have  been  injured.  Ichibei  decided  not  only  to  listen 
to  the  story  but  also  to  revenge  Yoichi,  and  said  so. 

The  ghost  then  told  all  that  had  happened  since  he 
had  been  set  up  in  the  house  at  Kumedamura.  He  told 
of  his  success  as  a  masseur  ;  of  how  he  had  saved  the 
life  of  Asayo,  how  he  had  taken  her  to  his  house  and 
subsequently  married  her  ;  of  the  arrival  of  the  accursed 
acting  company  which  contained  the  man  who  had  ruined 
his  life  ;  of  his  own  death  and  hasty  burial ;  and  of  the 
marriage  of  Asayo  and  the  actor.  '  I  must  be  avenged. 
Will  you  help  me  to  rest  in  peace  ? '  he  said  in  con- 

Ichibei  promised.  Then  the  spirit  of  Yoichi  dis- 
appeared, and  Ichibei  slept  again. 

Next  morning  Ichibei  thought  he  must  have  been 
dreaming ;  but  he  remembered  the  vision  and  the 
narrative  so  clearly  that  he  perceived  them  to  have  been 
actual.  Suddenly  turning  with  the  intention  to  get  up, 
he  caught  sight  of  the  shine  of  a  metal  flute  close  to  his 
pillow.  It  was  the  flute  of  a  blind  amma.  It  was  marked 
with  Yoichi's  name. 

Ichibei  resolved  to  start  for  Kamedamura  and  ascertain 
locally  all  about  Yoichi. 

In  those  times,  when  there  was  no  railway  and  a 
rickshaw  only  here  and  there,  travel  was  slow.  Ichibei 
took  ten  days  to  reach  Kamedamura.  He  immediately 
went  to  the  house  of  his  friend  Yoichi,  and  was  there  told 

33  5 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

the  whole   history  again,  but   naturally  in   another   way. 
Asayo  said  : 

'  Yes  :  he  saved  my  life.  We  were  married,  and  I 
helped  my  blind  husband  in  everything.  One  day,  alas, 
he  mistook  the  staircase  for  a  door,  falling  down  and 
killing  himself.  Now  I  am  married  to  his  great  friend, 
an  actor  called  Tamataro,  whom  you  see  here.' 

Ichibei  knew  that  the  ghost  of  Yoichi  was  not  likely 
to  tell  him  lies,  and  to  ask  for  vengeance  unjustly.  There- 
fore he  continued  talking  to  Asayo  and  her  husband, 
listening  to  their  lies,  and  wondering  what  would  be 
the  fitting  procedure. 

Ten  o'clock  passed  thus,  and  eleven.  At  twelve 
o'clock,  when  Asayo  for  the  sixth  or  seventh  time  was 
assuring  Ichibei  that  everything  possible  had  been  done 
for  her  blind  husband,  a  wind  storm  suddenly  arose,  and 
in  the  midst  of  it  was  heard  the  sound  of  the  amma's  flute, 
just  as  Yoichi  played  it ;  it  was  so  unmistakably  his  that 
Asayo  screamed  with  fear. 

At  first  distant,  nearer  and  nearer  approached  the 
sound,  until  at  last  it  seemed  to  be  in  the  room  itself. 
At  that  moment  a  cold  puff  of  air  came  down  the 
tem-mado,  and  the  ghost  of  Yoichi  was  seen  standing 
beneath  it,  a  cold,  white,  glimmering  and  sad-faced  wraith. 
Tamataro  and  his  wife  tried  to  get  up  and  run  out 
of  the  house  ;  but  they  found  that  their  legs  would  not 
support  them,  so  full  were  they  of  fear. 

Tamataro  seized  a  lamp  and  flung  it  at  the  ghost ;  but 
the  ghost  was  not  to  be  moved.  The  lamp  passed  through 
him,  and  broke,  setting  fire  to  the  house,  which  burned 
instantly,  the  wind  fanning  the  flames. 


Ghost  Story  of  the   Flute's  Tomb 

Ichibei  made  his  escape  ;  but  neither  Asayo  nor  her 
husband  could  move,  and  the  flames  consumed  them  in 
the  presence  of  Yoichi's  ghost.  Their  cries  were  loud 
and  piercing. 

Ichibei  had  all  the  ashes  swept  up  and  placed  in  a 
tomb.  He  had  buried  in  another  grave  the  flute  of  the 
blind  amma,  and  erected  on  the  ground  where  the  house 
had  been  a  monument  sacred  to  the  memory  of  Yoichi. 
It  is  known  as  FUEZUKA  NO  KwAiDAN.1 

1  The  flute  ghost  tomb. 



ABOUT  the  year  1680  there  stood  an  old  temple  on  a 
wild  pine -clad  mountain  near  the  village  of  Kisaichi, 
in  the  Province  of  Inaba.  The  temple  was  far  up  in  a 
rocky  ravine.  So  high  and  thick  were  the  trees,  they 
kept  out  nearly  all  daylight,  even  when  the  sun  was  at 
its  highest.  As  long  as  the  old  men  of  the  village  could 
remember  the  temple  had  been  haunted  by  a  shito  dama 
and  the  skeleton  ghost  (they  thought)  of  some  former 
priestly  occupant.  Many  priests  had  tried  to  live  in  the 

1  In  many  stories  in  MS.  volumes  I  have  told  of  shito  dama  or  astral  spirits.  So 
much  evidence  have  I  got  from  personal  acquaintances  as  to  their  existence,  and  even 
frequent  occurrence,  that  I  almost  believe  in  them  myself.  Some  say  that  there  are  two 
shapes — the  roundish  oblong  tadpole  shape,  and  the  more  square-fronted  eyed  shape. 
Priests  declare  the  shapes  and  sexes  to  be  all  alike,  indistinguishable  from  each  other  and 
square-fronted,  as  in  No.  2.  My  hunter,  Oto  of  Itami,  who,  with  his  son,  saw  the 
old  barber's  wife's  shito  dama  after  she  had  died,  declared  that  the  shape  was  like  an  egg 
with  a  tail.  At  Tsuboune,  near  Naba,  two  or  three  dozen  people  who  had  seen  the 
shito  dama  of  a  deaf  man  and  that  of  a  fisher-girl  there  declared  both  to  be  square- 
fronted.  Again  :  At  Toshi  Shima  the  old  men  declare  that  there  was  a  carpenter 
whose  shito  dama  appeared  five  or  six  times  some  fifteen  years  ago,  and  that  it  was  red, 
instead  of  having  the  ordinary  phosphorescent  smoky-white  appearance.  Shito  dama,  I 
take  it,  is  the  astral  form  that  a  spirit  can  assume  if  it  wishes  to  wander  the  earth  after 
death.  This  is  the  story  of  a  dissatisfied  spirit  which  haunted  a  temple  and  also  showed 
itself  as  a  ghost. 



A  Haunted  Temple  in  Inaba  Province 

temple  and  make  it  their  home  ;  but  all  had  died.     No 
one  could  spend  a  night  there  and  live. 

At  last,  in  the  winter  of  1701,  there  arrived  at  the 
village  of  Kisaichi  a  priest  who  was  on  a  pilgrimage. 
His  name  was  Jogen,  and  he  was  a  native  of  the  Province 
of  Kai. 

Jogen  had  come  to  see  the  haunted  temple.  He  was 
fond  of  studying  such  things.  Though  he  believed  in  the 
shito  dama  form  of  spiritual  return  to  earth,  he  did  not 
believe  in  ghosts.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  he  was  anxious  to 
see  a  shito  dama,  and,  moreover,  wished  to  have  a  temple 
of  his  own.  In  this  wild  mountain  temple,  with  a  history 
which  fear  and  death  prevented  people  from  visiting  or 
priests  inhabiting,  he  thought  that  he  had  (to  put  it  in 
vulgar  English)  *  a  real  good  thing/  Thus  he  had  found 
his  way  to  the  village  on  the  evening  of  a  cold  December 
night,  and  had  gone  to  the  inn  to  eat  his  rice  and  to  hear 
all  he  could  about  the  temple. 

Jogen  was  no  coward  ;  on  the  contrary,  he  was  a 
brave  man,  and  made  all  inquiries  in  the  calmest 

1  Sir/  said  the  landlord,  '  your  holiness  must  not  think 
of  going  to  this  temple,  for  it  means  death.  Many  good 
priests  have  tried  to  stay  the  night  there,  and  every  one 
has  been  found  next  morning  dead,  or  has  died  shortly 
after  daybreak  without  coming  to  his  senses.  It  is  no 
use,  sir,  trying  to  defy  such  an  evil  spirit  as  comes  to 
this  temple.  I  beg  you,  sir,  to  give  up  the  idea.  Badly 
as  we  want  a  temple  here,  we  wish  for  no  more  deaths, 
and  often  think  of  burning  down  this  old  haunted  one 
and  building  a  new/ 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

Jogen,  however,  was  firm  in  his  resolve  to  find  and  see 
the  ghost. 

'  Kind  sir/  he  answered,  c  your  wishes  are  for  my 
preservation  ;  but  it  is  my  ambition  to  see  a  shito  dama, 
and,  if  prayers  can  quiet  it,  to  reopen  the  temple,  to 
read  its  legends  from  the  old  books  that  must  lie  hidden 
therein,  and  to  be  the  head  priest  of  it  generally.' 

The  innkeeper,  seeing  that  the  priest  was  not  to  be 
dissuaded,  gave  up  the  attempt,  and  promised  that  his  son 
should  accompany  him  as  guide  in  the  morning,  and  carry 
sufficient  provisions  for  a  day. 

Next  morning  was  one  of  brilliant  sunshine,  and  Jogen 
was  out  of  bed  early,  making  preparations.  Kosa,  the 
innkeeper's  twenty-year-old  son,  was  tying  up  the  priest's 
bedding  and  enough  boiled  rice  to  last  him  nearly  two  full 
days.  It  was  decided  that  Kosa,  after  leaving  the  priest 
at  the  temple,  should  return  to  the  village,  for  he  as  well 
as  every  other  villager  refused  to  spend  a  night  at  the 
weird  place  ;  but  he  and  his  father  agreed  to  go  and  see 
Jogen  on  the  morrow,  or  (as  some  one  grimly  put  it)  c  to 
carry  him  down  and  give  him  an  honourable  funeral  and 
decent  burial/ 

Jogen  entered  fully  into  this  joke,  and  shortly  after 
left  the  village,  with  Kosa  carrying  his  things  and  guiding 
the  way. 

The  gorge  in  which  the  temple  was  situated  was  very 
steep  and  wild.  Great  moss-clad  rocks  lay  strewn  every- 
where. When  Jogen  and  his  companion  had  got  half-way  up 
they  sat  down  to  rest  and  eat.  Soon  they  heard  voices  of 
persons  ascending,  and  ere  long  the  innkeeper  and  some 
eight  or  nine  of  the  village  elders  presented  themselves. 


A  Haunted  Temple  in  Inaba  Province 

'  We  have  followed  you/  said  the  innkeeper,  c  to  try 
once  more  to  dissuade  you  from  running  to  a  sure  death. 
True,  we  want  the  temple  opened  and  the  ghosts  appeased  ; 
but  we  do  not  wish  it  at  the  cost  of  another  life.  Please 
consider  ! ' 

'  I  cannot  change  my  mind/  answered  the  priest. 
'  Besides,  this  is  the  one  chance  of  my  life.  Your  village 
elders  have  promised  me  that  if  I  am  able  to  appease  the 
spirit  and  reopen  the  temple  I  shall  be  the  head  priest 
of  the  temple,  which  must  hereafter  become  celebrated.' 

Again  Jogen  refused  to  listen  to  advice,  and  laughed 
at  the  villagers'  fears.  Shouldering  the  packages  that  had 
been  carried  by  Kosa,  he  said  : 

4  Go  back  with  the  rest.  I  can  find  my  own  way  now 
easily  enough.  I  shall  be  glad  if  you  return  to-morrow 
with  carpenters,  for  no  doubt  the  temple  is  in  sad  want 
of  repairs,  both  inside  and  out.  Now,  my  friends,  until 
to-morrow,  farewell.  Have  no  fear  for  me  :  I  have  none 
for  myself.' 

The  villagers  made  deep  bows.  They  were  greatly 
impressed  by  the  bravery  of  Jogen,  and  hoped  that  he 
might  be  spared  to  become  their  priest.  Jogen  in  his 
turn  bowed,  and  then  began  to  continue  his  ascent.  The 
others  watched  him  as  long  as  he  remained  in  view,  and 
then  retraced  their  steps  to  the  village  ;  Kosa  thanking 
the  good  fortune  that  had  not  necessitated  his  having  to 
go  to  the  temple  with  the  priest  and  return  in  the  evening 
alone.  With  two  or  three  people  he  felt  brave  enough  ; 
but  to  be  here  in  the  gloom  of  this  wild  forest  and  near 
the  haunted  temple  alone — no  :  that  was  not  in  his  line. 

As  Jogen  climbed  he  came  suddenly  in  sight  of  the 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

temple,  which  seemed  to  be  almost  over  his  head,  so 
precipitous  were  the  sides  of  the  mountain  and  the  path. 
Filled  with  curiosity,  the  priest  pressed  on  in  spite  of  his 
heavy  load,  and  some  fifteen  minutes  later  arrived  panting 
on  the  temple  platform,  or  terrace,  which,  like  the  temple 
itself,  had  been  built  on  driven  piles  and  scaffolding. 

At  first  glance  Jogen  recognised  that  the  temple  was 
large  ;  but  lack  of  attention  had  caused  it  to  fall  into  great 
dilapidation.  Rank  grasses  grew  high  about  its  sides  ; 
fungi  and  creepers  abounded  upon  the  damp,  sodden  posts 
and  supports  ;  so  rotten,  in  fact,  did  these  appear,  the 
priest  mentioned  in  his  written  notes  that  evening  that 
he  feared  the  spirits  less  than  the  state  of  the  posts  which 
supported  the  building. 

Cautiously  Jogen  entered  the  temple,  and  saw  that 
there  was  a  remarkably  large  and  fine  gilded  figure  of 
Buddha,  besides  figures  of  many  saints.  There  were  also 
fine  bronzes  and  vases,  drums  from  which  the  parchment 
had  rotted  off,  incense -burners,  or  koros,  and  other 
valuable  or  holy  things. 

Behind  the  temple  were  the  priests'  living  quarters  ; 
evidently,  before  the  ghost's  time,  the  temple  must  have 
had  some  five  or  six  priests  ever  present  to  attend  to  it 
and  to  the  people  who  came  to  pray. 

The  gloom  was  oppressive,  and  as  the  evening  was 
already  approaching  Jogen  bethought  himself  of  light. 
Unpacking  his  bundle,  he  filled  a  lamp  with  oil,  and 
found  temple-sticks  for  the  candles  which  he  had  brought 
with  him.  Having  placed  one  of  these  on  either  side  of 
the  figure  of  Buddha,  he  prayed  earnestly  for  two  hours, 
by  which  time  it  was  quite  dark.  Then  he  took  his 


A  Haunted  Temple  in  Inaba  Province 

simple  meal  of  rice,  and  settled  himself  to  watch  and 
listen.  In  order  that  he  might  see  inside  and  outside 
the  temple  at  the  same  time,  he  had  chosen  the  gallery. 
Concealed  behind  an  old  column,  he  waited,  in  his  heart 
disbelieving  in  ghosts,  but  anxious,  as  his  notes  said,  to 
see  a  shito  dama. 

For  some  two  hours  he  heard  nothing.  The  wind — 
such  little  as  there  was — sighed  round  the  temple  and 
through  the  stems  of  the  tall  trees.  An  owl  hooted  from 
time  to  time.  Bats  flew  in  and  out.  A  fungusy  smell 
pervaded  the  air. 

Suddenly,  near  midnight,  Jogen  heard  a  rustling  in  the 
bushes  below  him,  as  if  somebody  were  pushing  through. 
He  thought  it  was  a  deer,  or  perhaps  one  of  the  large 
red-faced  apes  so  fond  of  the  neighbourhood  of  high  and 
deserted  temples  ;  perhaps,  even,  it  might  be  a  fox  or  a 

The  priest  was  soon  undeceived.  At  the  place  whence 
the  sound  of  the  rustling  leaves  had  come,  he  saw  the 
clear  and  distinct  shape  of  the  well-known  shito  dama. 
It  moved  first  one  way  and  then  another,  in  a  hovering 
and  jerky  manner,  and  from  it  a  voice  as  of  distant 
buzzing  proceeded  ;  but — horror  of  horrors  ! — what  was 
that  standing  among  the  bushes  ? 

The  priest's  blood  ran  cold.  There  stood  the 
luminous  skeleton  of  a  man  in  loose  priest's  clothes, 
with  glaring  eyes  and  a  parchment  skin  !  At  first  it 
remained  still  ;  but  as  the  shito  dama  rose  higher  and 
higher  the  ghost  moved  after  it  —  sometimes  visible, 
sometimes  not. 

Higher  and  higher  came  the  shito  dama,  until  finally 

41  6 

Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

the  ghost  stood  at  the  base  of  the  great  figure  of  Buddha, 
and  was  facing  Jogen. 

Cold  beads  of  sweat  stood  out  on  the  priest's  fore- 
head ;  the  marrow  seemed  to  have  frozen  in  his  bones  ; 
he  shook  so  that  he  could  hardly  stand.  Biting  his 
tongue  to  prevent  screaming,  he  dashed  for  the  small 
room  in  which  he  had  left  his  bedding,  and,  having  bolted 
himself  in,  proceeded  to  look  through  a  crack  between 
the  boards.  Yes  !  there  was  the  figure  of  the  ghost, 
still  seated  near  the  Buddha  ;  but  the  shito  dama  had 

None  of  Jogen's  senses  left  him  ;  but  fear  was 
paralysing  his  body,  and  he  felt  himself  no  longer 
capable  of  moving — no  matter  what  should  happen.  He 
continued,  in  a  lying  position,  to  look  through  the  hole. 

The  ghost  sat  on,  turning  only  its  head,  sometimes  to 
the  right,  sometimes  to  the  left,  and  sometimes  looking 

For  full  an  hour  this  went  on.  Then  the  buzzing 
sound  began  again,  and  the  shito  dama  reappeared, 
circling  and  circling  round  the  ghost's  body,  until  the 
ghost  vanished,  apparently  having  turned  into  the  shito 
dama  ;  and  after  circling  round  the  holy  figures  three 
or  four  times  it  suddenly  shot  out  of  sight. 

Next  morning  Kosa  and  five  men  came  up  to  the 
temple.  They  found  the  priest  alive  but  paralysed. 
He  could  neither  move  nor  speak.  He  was  carried  to 
the  village,  dying  before  he  got  there. 

Much  use  was  made  of  the  priest's  notes.  No  one 
else  ever  volunteered  to  live  at  the  temple,  which,  two 
years  later,  was  struck  by  lightning  and  burned  to  the 


A  Haunted  Temple  in  Inaba  Province 

ground.  In  digging  among  the  remains,  searching  for 
bronzes  and  metal  Buddhas,  villagers  came  upon  a 
skeleton  buried,  only  a  foot  deep,  near  the  bushes  whence 
Jogen  had  first  heard  the  sounds  of  rustling. 

Undoubtedly  the  ghost  and  shito  dama  were  those  of 
a  priest  who  had  suffered  a  violent  death  and  could  not 

The  bones  were  properly  buried  and  masses  said,  and 
nothing  has  since  been  seen  of  the  ghost. 

All  that  remains  of  the  temple  are  the  moss-grown 
pedestals  which  formed  the  foundations. 



BETWEEN  the  years  1750  and  1760  there  lived  in  Kyoto 
a  great  painter  named  Okyo-Maruyama  Okyo.  His 
paintings  were  such  as  to  fetch  high  prices  even  in  those 
days.  Okyo  had  not  only  many  admirers  in  consequence, 
but  had  also  many  pupils  who  strove  to  copy  his  style  ; 
among  them  was  one  named  Rosetsu,  who  eventually 
became  the  best  of  all. 

When  first  Rosetsu  went  to  Okyo's  to  study  he  was, 
without  exception,  the  dullest  and  most  stupid  pupil  that 
Okyo  had  ever  had  to  deal  with.  His  learning  was  so 
slow  that  pupils  who  had  entered  as  students  under  Okyo 
a  year  and  more  after  Rosetsu  overtook  him.  He  was  one 
of  those  plodding  but  unfortunate  youths  who  work  hard, 
harder  perhaps  than  most,  and  seem  to  go  backwards  as 
if  the  very  gods  were  against  them. 

1  One  day  my  old  painter  Busetsu  was  talking  with  me  about  Japan's  greatest 
painters,  and  of  one  of  them  he  told  a  strange  story.  It  was  interesting  in  one  thing 
especially,  and  that  was  that  the  name  of  Rosetsu  I  could  not  find  mentioned  in  Louis 
Gonse's  book,  though,  of  course,  Maruyama  Okyo  was.  Five  names  were  given  as  those 
of  the  best  pupils  of  Okyo  ;  but  Rosetsu  was  not  mentioned.  I  wrote  to  my  friend  the 
Local  Governor,  who  is  an  authority  on  Japanese  paintings.  His  answer  was,  '  You 
are  quite  right :  Rosetsu  was  one  of  Okyo's  best  pupils,  perhaps  the  best.' 



A  Carp  gives  a  Lesson  in  Perseverance 

I  have  the  deepest  sympathy  with  Rosetsu.  I 
myself  became  a  bigger  fool  day  by  day  as  I  worked; 
the  harder  I  worked  or  tried  to  remember  the  more 
manifestly  a  fool  I  became. 

Rosetsu,  however,  was  in  the  end  successful,  having 
been  greatly  encouraged  by  his  observations  of  the 
perseverance  of  a  carp. 

Many  of  the  pupils  who  had  entered  Okyo's  school 
after  Rosetsu  had  left,  having  become  quite  good 
painters.  Poor  Rosetsu  was  the  only  one  who  had  made 
no  progress  whatever  for  three  years.  So  disconsolate 
was  he,  and  so  little  encouragement  did  his  master  offer, 
that  at  last,  crestfallen  and  sad,  he  gave  up  the  hopes  he 
had  had  of  becoming  a  great  painter,  and  quietly  left  the 
school  one  evening,  intending  either  to  go  home  or  to 
kill  himself  on  the  way.  All  that  night  he  walked,  and 
half-way  into  the  next,  when,  tired  out  from  want  of 
sleep  and  of  food,  he  flung  himself  down  on  the  snow 
under  the  pine  trees. 

Some  hours  before  dawn  Rosetsu  awoke,  hearing  a 
strange  noise  not  thirty  paces  from  him.  He  could  not 
make  it  out,  but  sat  up,  listening,  and  glancing  towards 
the  place  whence  the  sound — of  splashing  water — came. 

As  the  day  broke  he  saw  that  the  noise  was  caused 
by  a  large  carp,  which  was  persistently  jumping  out  of 
the  water,  evidently  trying  to  reach  a  piece  of  sembei  (a 
kind  of  biscuit  made  of  rice  and  salt)  lying  on  the  ice  of 
a  pond  near  which  Rosetsu  found  himself.  For  full  three 
hours  the  fish  must  have  been  jumping  thus  unsuccessfully, 
cutting  and  bruising  himself  against  the  edges  of  the  ice 
until  the  blood  flowed  and  many  scales  had  been  lost. 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

Rosetsu  watched  its  persistency  with  admiration.  The 
fish  tried  every  imaginable  device.  Sometimes  it  would 
make  a  determined  attack  on  the  ice  where  the  biscuit 
lay  from  underneath,  by  charging  directly  upwards ;  at 
other  times  it  would  jump  high  in  the  air,  and  hope 
that  by  falling  on  the  ice  bit  by  bit  would  be  broken 
away,  until  it  should  be  able  to  reach  the  sembei  ;  and 
indeed  the  carp  did  thus  break  the  ice,  until  at  last  he 
reached  the  prize,  bleeding  and  hurt,  but  still  rewarded 
for  brave  perseverance. 

Rosetsu,  much  impressed,  watched  the  fish  swim  off 
with  the  food,  and  reflected. 

*  Yes,'  he  said  to  himself :  *  this  has  been  a  moral 
lesson  to  me.  I  will  be  like  this  carp.  I  will  not  go 
home  until  I  have  gained  my  object.  As  long  as  there  is 
breath  in  my  body  I  will  work  to  carry  out  my  intention. 
I  will  labour  harder  than  ever,  and,  no  matter  if  I  do 
not  progress,  I  will  continue  in  my  efforts  until  I  attain 
my  end  or  die/ 

After  this  resolve  Rosetsu  visited  the  neighbouring 
temple,  and  prayed  for  success  ;  also  he  thanked  the  local 
deity  that  he  had  been  enabled  to  see,  through  the  carp's 
perseverance,  the  line  that  a  man  should  take  in  life. 

Rosetsu  then  returned  to  Kyoto,  and  to  his  master, 
Okyo,  told  the  story  of  the  carp  and  of  his  determination. 

Okyo  was  much  pleased,  and  did  his  best  for  his 
backward  pupil.  This  time  Rosetsu  progressed.  He 
became  a  well-known  painter,  the  best  man  Okyo  ever 
taught,  as  good,  in  fact,  as  his  master  ;  and  he  ended  by 
being  one  of  Japan's  greatest  painters. 

Rosetsu  took  for  crest  the  leaping  carp. 




WHILE  up  fishing  on  Lake  Biwa,  and  later  shooting  in 
the  vicinity  (shooting  is  not  allowed  on  the  lake  itself,  the 
water  being  considered  a  holy  place),  I  often  made  Zeze 
my  head-quarters.  At  the  edge  of  the  lake,  just  there, 
stands  the  cottage  of  ah  old  old  fisherman  and  his  sons. 
They  have  made  a  little  harbour  for  their  boats  ;  but 
they  cultivate  no  ground,  their  cottage  standing  in  wild 
grass  near  a  solitary  willow.  The  reason  of  this  is  that 
they  are  rich,  or  comparatively  so,  being  the  owners  of  an 
immense  fish-trap,  which  runs  out  into  the  lake  nearly  a 
mile,  and  is  a  disgrace  to  all  civilised  ideas  of  conservation. 
They  bought  the  rights  from  the  Daimio,  who  owned 
Zeze  Castle  a  hundred  years  or  more  ago  (this  is  my  own 
guess  at  the  date,  for  I  never  asked  or  noted  it).  The 
trap  catches  enough  to  keep  the  whole  of  four  families 

Two  or  three  interesting  little  legends  (truths  the  old 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

senior  fisherman  called  them)  I  got,  either  from  himself 
or  from  his  son  while  visiting  his  trap,  or  sitting  under 
his  willow,  fishing  myself — for  stories. 

c  Surely  the  Danna  San  could  not  be  interested  in  the 
simple  old  stories  of  bygone  days  ?  Even  my  sons  do 
not  care  for  them  nowadays  ! ' 

' 1  care  for  anything  of  interest,'  I  said.  '  And  you 
will  greatly  please  me  by  telling  me  any  fishermen's 
legends  of  hereabouts,  or  even  of  the  north-western  end 
of  the  lake  if  you  know  any.' 

*  Well,  there  is  our  Fire  Ball,'  said  the  old  fisherman. 
1  That  is  a  curious  and  unpleasant  thing.  I  have  seen  it 
many  times  myself.  I  will  begin  with  that.' 


'  Many  years  ago  there  was  a  Daimio  who  had  con- 
structed at  the  foot  of  the  southern  spur  of  Mount  Hiyei 
a  castle,  the  ruins  of  which  may  still  be  seen  just  to  the 
north  of  the  military  barracks  of  the  Ninth  Regiment  in 
Otsu.  The  name  of  the  Daimio  was  Akechi  Mitsuhide, 
and  it  is  his  shito  dama  that  we  see  now  in  wet  weather  on 
the  lake.  It  is  called  the  spirit  of  Akechi. 

'The  reason  of  it  is  this.  When  Akechi  Mitsuhide 
defended  himself  against  the  Toyotomi,  he  was  closely 
invested  ;  but  his  castle  held  out  bravely,  and  could  not 
be  taken  in  spite  of  Toyotomi's  greater  forces.  As  time 
went  on,  the  besiegers  became  exasperated,  and  prevailed 
upon  a  bad  fisherman  from  Magisa  village  to  tell  where 
was  the  source  of  water  which  supplied  Akechi's  castle. 
The  water  having  been  cut  off,  the  garrison  had  to 


THE    FIRE-BALL    OR    '  SHITO    DAMA  '    OF    AKECHI 

T  ^\- 


Legends  told  by  a   Fisherman 

capitulate,  but  not  before  Akechi  and  most  of  his  men 
had  committed  suicide. 

'  From  that  time,  in  rain  or  in  rough  weather,  there 
has  come  from  the  castle  a  fire-ball,  six  inches  in  diameter 
or  more.  It  comes  to  wreak  vengeance  on  fishermen,  and 
causes  many  wrecks,  leading  boats  out  of  their  course. 
Sometimes  it  comes  almost  into  the  boat.  Once  a 
fisherman  struck  it  with  a  bamboo  pole,  breaking  it  up 
into  many  fiery  bits  ;  and  on  that  occasion  many  boats 
were  lost. 

c  In  full  it  is  called  "  The  Spider  Fire  of  the  Spirit  of 
the  Dead  Akechi."  That  is  all,  sir,  that  I  can  tell  of  it 
— except  that  often  have  I  seen  it  myself,  and  feared  it.' 

'  That  is  very  interesting/  said  I,  '  and  quite  what  I 
like.  Can  you  tell  me  any  more  ? ' 

'  Perhaps,  if  Danna  San  found  interest  in  that  simple 
story,  he  would  like  to  know  the  reason  of  why  we  always 
have  such  a  terrible  storm  over  the  lake  on  February  25  : 
so  I  will  tell  of  that  also.' 


4  Long  ago  there  lived  in  the  village  of  Komatsu,  on 
the  south-eastern  side  of  the  lake,  a  beautiful  girl  called 
O  Tani.  She  was  the  daughter  of  a  wealthy  farmer,  and 
of  a  studious  nature  as  far  as  it  was  possible  for  a  girl  to  be 
so  in  those  days  ;  that  is  to  say,  she  was  for  ever  wishing 
to  learn  and  to  know  things  which  were  not  always  within 
the  province  of  women  to  know.  With  the  intention  of 
inquiring  and  learning,  she  frequently  crossed  the  lake  in 
a  boat  alone,  to  visit  a  certain  talented  and  clever  young 

49  7 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

monk,  who  was  the  chief  priest  at  one  of  the  smaller 
temples  situated  at  the  foot  of  Mount  Hiyei  San,  just 
over  there  where  you  are  looking  now. 

4  So  deeply  impressed  was  O  Tani  San  with  the  priest's 
knowledge,  she  lost  her  heart  and  fell  in  love  with  him. 
Her  visits  became  more  frequent.  Often  she  crossed  the 
lake  alone,  in  spite  of  her  parents'  protests,  when  the 
waves  were  too  high  for  the  safety  even  of  a  hardy 
fisherman  like  myself. 

'  At  last  O  Tani  could  resist  no  longer.  She  felt  that 
she  must  tell  the  good  priest  of  her  love  for  him,  and  see 
if  she  could  not  persuade  him  to  renounce  the  Church 
and  run  away  with  her. 

8  The  monk  was  greatly  sorrowed,  and  did  not  quite 
know  what  to  say,  or  how  to  put  the  girl  off.  At  last  he 
thought  that  he  would  give  her  an  impossible  task. 
Knowing  that  the  weather  on  Lake  Biwa  towards  the  end 
of  February  is  nearly  impossible  as  far  as  the  navigation 
of  small  boats  is  concerned,  he  said,  probably  not  for  a 
moment  meaning  it  seriously  : 

4  "  O  Tani  San,  if  you  successfully  crossed  the  lake  on 
the  evening  of  February  25  in  a  washing-tub,  it  might  be 
possible  that  1  should  cast  off  my  robes  and  forget  my 
calling  to  carry  out  your  wishes." 

*  O  Tani  did  not  think  of  the  impossible,  nor  did  she 
quite  understand  the  depth  of  the  priest's  meaning  ; 
young  and  foolish  as  she  was  with  her  blind  love,  she 
sculled  herself  home,  thinking  that  the  next  time  she 
crossed  the  lake  it  would  be  in  the  washing-tub  and  to 
carry  off  the  young  priest  as  her  husband.  She  was 
supremely  happy. 


O    TANI    SAN  S    TUB    GETS    SWAMPED 

Legends  told  by  a  Fisherman 

*  At  last  the  25th  of  February  arrived.     O   Tani  had 
taken  care  that   the  best   and    largest  washing- tub   had 
been  left  near  the  borders  of  the  lake.      After  dark  she 
embarked  in  her   frail  craft,  and  without  the  least  fear 

*  When  she  was  about  half-way  across  a  fearful  storm 
broke    over    Hiyei    Mountain.      The    waves    arose,   and 
the  wind  blew  with  blinding  force.     Moreover,  the  light 
that  was  usually  burning  on  the  Hiyei  San  side  of  the 
lake,  which  the  priest  had  promised  should  be  especially 
bright  this  night,  had  been  blown  out.     It  was  not  long 
before  poor  O  Tani's  tub  was  capsized,  and  in  spite  of 
her   efforts   to  keep  afloat  she    sank  beneath    the  waves 
to  rise  no  more. 

<  It  is  said  by  some  that  the  priest  himself  put  out  the 
light,  so  as  to  cut  off  the  last  possible  chance  of  O  Tani's 
reaching  the  shore,  being  over-zealous  in  his  thoughts  of 
good  and  evil. 

c  Since  the  night  that  O  Tani  was  drowned,  every  25th 
of  February  has  been  wild  and  stormy,  and  fishermen  fear 
to  be  out  on  that  day.  People  say  that  the  cause  is  the 
dissatisfied  spirit  of  poor  O  Tani,  who,  though  she  did 
not  fear  death,  died  disconsolate  at  being  deceived  by  the 
monk  she  loved. 

'  The  washing-tub  that  O  Tani  used  drifted  ashore 
at  Kinohama  village,  in  Eastern  Omi.  It  was  picked  up 
by  Gensuke,  a  match-maker,  who  split  it  up  and  made 
matches  of  it.  When  this  became  known  to  the  villagers 
of  Kinohama,  including  Gensuke  himself,  they  resolved 
that  every  25th  of  February  should  be  a  holiday,  and  that 
a  prayer  should  be  said  at  their  shrine  for  the  spirit  of 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

O  Tani.  They  call  the  day  "  Joya  "  (Dealer  in  Matches 
Festival),  and  on  it  no  men  work.' 

*  That  is  a  capital  story/  said  I  to  the  old  fisherman  ; 
'  but  I  should  greatly  have  liked  to  put  the  monk  in 
another  tub  on  the  following  25th  of  February,  and 
anchored  him  out,  so  that  he  should  be  sure  of  being 
drowned  in  the  same  way/ 

'  Does  the  Danna  San  know  why  all  the  little  papers 
are  tied  in  the  black  rocks  at  Ishiyama-dera  ? ' 

'  No  :  I  do  not,'  I  answered ;  c  and,  moreover,  when  I 
went  there  no  one  would  or  could  tell  me.' 

'  Well,  it  is  not  an  uninteresting  story,  and  I  will  tell 
it  to  you,  for  it  is  short/ 


1  As  the  Danna  San  has  been  to  Ishiyama-dera,  he  will 
know  about  the  temple  and  monastery,  which  has  a  history 
eleven  hundred  years  long  ; l  but  few  people  know  the 
real  reason  why  the  bits  of  paper  with  prayers  on  them 
are  tied  to  the  black  rocks. 

4  The  origin  or  the  reason  of  tying  these  paper  prayers 
— musubi  no  kami,  as  they  are  called — is  pretty,  if  suicide 
for  the  romance  of  love  can  make  it  so. 

c  Many  years  ago  in  Baba  Street  of  Otsu,  then  known 
as  Shibaya  Street,  there  was  a  teahouse  called  Kagiya, 
which  kept  very  beautiful  geisha.  Among  them  was 
one,  named  O  Taga  hana,  whose  loveliness  surpassed  all 
imagination.  Though  scarcely  seventeen,  her  heart  was 

1  The  temple  was  founded  A.D.  749  by  the  monk  Ryoben  Sojo  at  the  command  of 
the  Emperor  Shomei.     It  is  the  thirteenth  of  the  Thirty-Three  Holy  Places. 



Legends  told  by  a  Fisherman 

"no  longer  her  own.  It  had  gone  as  completely  to  her 
lover  Denbei  as  had  his  to  her.  It  is  difficult  to  imagine 
how  this  desperate  affair  came  about  at  first,  for  Denbei 
was  only  the  clerk  of  a  rice-merchant  in  Otsu,  and  had 
but  little  money  to  spend  on  geisha,  especially  in  such 
an  expensive  teahouse  as  Kagiya. 

*  Jealousy   and   unhappiness    crept    into    the    heart    of 
Denbei,  not  on  account  of  any  unfaithfulness  on  the  part 
of  O  Taga  hana  San,  but  because  he  felt  jealous  of  others 
being  well  enough  off  to  go  to  the  Kagiya  teahouse  and 
hear  her  sing  and  see   her  dance  while  they  ate  costly 

'  So  much  did  these  sorrows  tell  upon  Denbei's  heart 
at  last,  he  used  to  falsify  his  master's  account -books, 
frequently  taking  money,  which  he  spent,  of  course,  at 
the  Kagiya  teahouse  in  seeing  the  beloved  O  Taga  hana. 

'  This  state  of  affairs  could  not  last  long,  and  when 
Denbei  told  O  Taga  hana  how  he  had  procured  the 
money  to  come  and  see  her  she  was  shocked  beyond 

c  "  My  dearest,"  she  said,  "  the-wrong  which  you  have 
done  out  of  love  for  me  is  sure  to  be  discovered,  and 
even  were  it  not  it  would  be  wrong.  Our  love  is  so 
great  that  there  remains  but  one  chance  for  our  future 
happiness — shinju  (suicide  together).  Nothing  else  will 
enable  us  to  become  united,  for  if  I  ran  away  with  you 
they  would  soon  recapture  me,  most  probably  before  a 
day  and  night  had  passed." 

*  "  Will  you  leave  with  me  to-night  ? "  said  Denbei. 

*  "  I  will  meet  you  at  two  o'clock  in  the  morning,  when 
all  are  asleep,  down  at   the   flat-growing  pine   tree   near 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

the  east  end  of  the  town.  From  there  we  will  go  to 
Ishiyama-dera,  and  after  praying  at  that  holy  temple 
to  our  good  Kwannon  we  will  do  shinju  in  the 
Hotaru  Dani  (Firefly  Valley),  and  our  souls  will  depart 

'  Denbei  bowed  to  his  sweetheart,  and  spoke  words  of 
gratitude  for  her  faithfulness  in  recognising  his  love  for 
her  as  the  cause  of  his  sin,  and  he  promised  that  at  the 
appointed  hour  he  would  meet  her  by  the  pine  tree  near 
the  lake  and  take  her  off  to  Ishiyama,  there  to  carry  out 
their  final  act  and  die  together. 

'  To  save  time,  Danna  San,  in  telling  this  story  it  is 
only  necessary  to  say  that  Denbei  and  O  Taga  hana  met, 
and  that,  after  passing  over  the  flat  and  uninteresting 
plain  known  as  Awatsu,  they  reached  and  passed  the  Seta 
Bridge,  and  that  shortly  after,  about  daybreak,  they 
found  themselves  at  Ishiyama.  There,  in  one  of  the  tea- 
houses, they  remained  some  hours  in  bliss,  and  then  went 
to  the  temple  to  pray  to  Kwannon.  Then  they  went  to 
the  Hotaru  Dani,  and,  after  embracing  each-  other  for  the 
last  time  on  this  earth,  they  each  wrote  a  prayer  on  a 
piece  of  paper,  twisted  it  into  a  piece  of  string,  and 
fastened  it  in  a  double  knot  with  their  thumbs  and  little 
fingers  through  a  small  hole  bored  in  the  soft  black  rocks. 
Their  being  able  to  do  this  successfully  was  taken  as  an 
omen  that  all  would  be  well  with  them  after  death,  and 
was  an  answer  to  their  prayer. 

'  Their  spirits  passed  away  together,  just  as  the  leaves 
of  fragrant  flowers  blown  off  by  autumn  winds  pass 
together  under  Seta  Bridge. 

4  That,  Danna  San,  is  the  origin  and  reason  of  tying 


Legends  told  by  a   Fisherman 

these  pieces  of  paper  to  the  black  rocks  and  other  places 
at  Ishiyama-dera.  The  custom  is  still  followed  by  many 
country  folks,  who  go  to  worship  and  pray  for  the 
spirits  of  Denbei  and  O  Taga  hana  in  the  Firefly  Valley 



ABOUT  the  year  no  B.C.  there  lived  a  brave  prince 
known  in  Japanese  history  as  Yamato-dake  no  Mikoto.1 
He  was  a  great  warrior,  as  was  his  son,  who  is  said  to 
have  been  a  husband  to  the  Empress  Jingo — I  presume  a 
second  one,  for  it  could  not  have  been  the  Emperor  who 
was  assassinated  before  the  Empress's  conquest  of  Korea. 
However,  that  does  not  very  much  matter  to  my  story, 
which  is  merely  the  legend  attached  to  the  miraculous 
sword  known  as  the  Kusanagi  no  Tsurugi  (the  grass-cutting 
sword),  which  is  held  as  one  of  the  three  sacred  treasures, 
and  is  handed  down  from  father  to  son  in  the  Imperial 
Family.  The  sword  is  kept  at  the  Atsuta  Shrine,  in 
Owari  Province. 

At  the  date  given  by  my  interpreter,  no  B.C.  (I  should 

1  Yamato-dake  no  Mikoto,  one  of  the  eighty  children  of  the  Emperor  Keiko,  was  a 
great  hero  of  the  prehistoric  age.  While  yet  a  stripling  he  was  sent  by  his  father  to 
destroy  the  rebels  of  Western  Japan.  In  order  to  accomplish  this  end  he  borrowed  the 
gown  of  his  aunt,  who  was  high  priestess  of  Ise,  and,  thus  disguised,  made  the  rebel 
chieftains  fall  in  love  with  him  while  carousing  in  the  cave  where  they  dwelt.  Then, 
suddenly  drawing  a  sword  from  his  bosom,  he  smote  them  to  death.  He  next  subdued 
the  province  of  Izumo,  and  finally  conquered  Eastern  Japan,  which  was  at  that  time  a 
barbarous  waste.  After  many  adventures,  both  warlike  and  amorous,  he  died  on  the 
homeward  march  to  Yamato,  where  the  Emperor,  his  father,  held  Court. 



SAVES     HIMSELF     FROM     BEING     BURNED     BY     THE     AID     OF 


A  Miraculous  Sword 

"add  'or  thereabouts,'  allowing  large  margins),  Yamato- 
dake  no  Mikoto  had  been  successful  at  all  events  in 
suppressing  the  revolutionists  known  as  the  Kumaso  in 
Kyushu.  Being  a  man  of  energy,  and  possessing  a  strong 
force  of  trained  men,  he  resolved  that  he  would  suppress 
the  revolutionists  up  on  the  north-eastern  coasts. 

Before  starting,  Yamato-dake  no  Mikoto  thought  he 
should  go  to  Ise  to  worship  in  the  temples,  to  pray  for 
divine  aid,  and  to  call  on  an  aunt  who  lived  near.  Yamato- 
dake  spent  five  or  six  days  with  his  aunt,  Princess  Yamato 
Hime,  to  whom  he  announced  his  intention  of  subduing 
the  rebels.  She  presented  him  with  her  greatest  treasure 
— the  miraculous  sword — and  also  with  a  tinder- and  - 

Before  parting  with  her  nephew  Yamato  Hime  no 
Mikoto  said  :  '  This  sword  is  the  most  precious  thing 
which  I  could  give  you,  and  will  guard  you  safely  through 
all  dangers.  Value  it  accordingly,  for  it  will  be  one  of 
the  sacred  treasures.' 

(Legend  says  that  in  the  age  of  the  gods  Susanoo-no 
Mikoto  once  found  an  old  man  and  a  woman  weeping 
bitterly  because  a  mammoth  eight -headed  snake  had 
devoured  seven  of  their  daughters,  and  there  remained 
only  one  more,  whom,  they  felt  sure,  the  eighth  serpent's 
head  would  take.  Susanoo-no  Mikoto  asked  if  they 
would  give  him  the  daughter  if  he  killed  the  snake  ;  to 
which  they  gladly  assented.  Susanoo  filled  eight  buckets 
with  sake-wine,  and  put  them  where  the  serpent  Was 
likely  to  come,  and,  hiding  himself  in  the  vicinity,  awaited 
events.  The  monster  came,  and  the  eight  heads  drank 
the  eight  buckets  full  of  sake,  and  became,  naturally, 

57  8 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

dead-drunk.  Susanoo  then  dashed  in  and  cut  the  beast 
to  bits.  In  the  tail  he  found  a  sword — the  celebrated  and 
miraculous  sword  '  Kusanagi  no  Tsurugi,'  the  grass-cutting 
sword  of  our  story.) 

After  bidding  farewell  to  Yamato  Hime  no  Mikoto, 
the  Prince  took  his  departure,  setting  out  for  the  province 
of  Suruga,  on  the  eastern  coast,  to  find  what  he  could 
hear,  it  being  in  a  turbulent  state  ;  and  it  was  there  that 
he  ran  into  his  first  danger,  and  that  his  enemies  laid  a 
trap  for  him,  through  their  knowledge  that  he  was  fond 
of  hunting. 

There  were  some  immense  rush  plains  in  Suruga 
Province  where  now  stands  the  village  of  Yaitsu  Mura 
('  Yaita '  means  c  burning  fields  ').  It  was  resolved  by  the 
rebels  that  one  of  them  should  go  and  invite  Yamato-dake 
to  come  out  and  hunt,  while  they  were  to  scatter  and  hide 
themselves  in  the  long  grass,  until  the  guide  should  lead 
him  into  their  midst,  when  they  would  jump  up  and  kill 
him.  Accordingly,  they  sent  to  Yamato-dake  a  plausible 
and  clever  man,  who  told  him  that  there  were  many  deer 
on  the  grass  plains.  Would  he  come  and  hunt  them  ? 
The  man  volunteered  to  act  as  guide. 

The  invitation  was  tempting  ;  and,  as  he  had  found 
the  country  less  rebellious  than  he  had  expected,  the 
Prince  accepted. 

When  the  morning  arrived  the  Prince,  in  addition 
to  carrying  his  hunting-bow,  carried  the  sword  given  him 
by  his  aunt,  the  Princess  Yamato.  The  day  was  windy, 
and  it  was  thought  by  the  rebels  that  as  the  rushes  were 
so  dry  it  would  be  more  sure,  and  less  dangerous  to 
themselves,  to  fire  the  grass,  for  it  was  certain  that  the 


A  Miraculous   Sword 

guide  would  make  the  Prince  hunt  up-wind,  and  if  they 
fired  the  grass  properly  the  flames  would  rush  with 
lightning  speed  towards  him  and  be  absolutely  safe  for 

Yamato-dake  did  just  as  they  had  expected.  He 
came  quietly  on,  suspecting  nothing.  Suddenly  the 
rushes  took  fire  in  front  and  at  the  sides  of  him.  The 
Prince  realised  that  he  had  been  betrayed.  The  treacherous 
guide  had  disappeared.  The  Prince  stood  in  danger  of 
suffocation  and  death.  The  smoke,  dense  and  choking, 
rushed  along  with  rapidity  and  great  roaring. 

Yamato-dake  tried  to  run  for  the  only  gap,  but  was 
too  late.  Then  he  began  cutting  the  grass  with  his  sword, 
to  prevent  the  fire  from  reaching  him.  He  found  that 
whichever  direction  he  cut  in  with  his  sword,  the  wind 
changed  to  that  direction.  If  to  the  north  he  cut,  the 
wind  changed  to  the  south  and  prevented  the  fire  from 
advancing  farther  ;  if  to  the  south,  the  wind  changed  to 
the  north  ;  and  so  on.  Taking  advantage  of  this, 
Yamato-dake  retaliated  upon  his  enemies.  He  got  fire 
from  his  aunt's  tinder-box,  and  where  there  was  no  fire 
in  the  rushes  he  lit  them,  cutting  through  the  grass  at  the 
same  time  in  the  direction  in  which  he  wished  the  fire  to 
go.  Rushing  thus  from  point  to  point,  he  was  successful 
in  the  endeavour  to  turn  the  tables  on  his  enemies,  and 
destroyed  them  all. 

It  is  important  to  note  that  there  is  in  existence 
a  sword,  said  to  be  this  sword,  in  the  Atsuta  Shrine,  Owari 
Province  ;  a  great  festival  in  honour  of  it  is  held  on 
June  21  every  year. 

From  that  place  Yamato-dake  no  Mikoto  went  on 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

to  Sagami  Province.  Finding  things  quiet  there,  he  took 
a  ship  to  cross  to  Kazusa  Province,  accompanied  by  a 
lady  he  deeply  loved,  who  was  given  the  title  of  Hime 
(Princess)  because  of  Yamato-dake's  rank.  Her  name 
was  Tachibana.  They  had  not  got  more  than  ten  miles 
from  shore  when  a  terrible  storm  arose.  The  ship 
threatened  to  go  down. 

4  This/  said  Tachibana  Hime,  '  is  the  doing  of  one 
of  the  sea-goddesses  who  thirst  for  men's  lives.  I  will 
give  her  mine,  my  lord  ;  perhaps  that  may  appease  her 
until  you  have  safely  crossed  the  wicked  sea/ 

Without  further  warning,  Tachibana  Hime  cast 
herself  into  the  sea  ;  the  waves  closed  over  her  head,  to 
the  consternation  and  grief  of  all,  and  to  the  breaking 
of  Yamato-dake's  heart. 

As  Tachibana  Hime  had  expected,  the  sea-goddess 
was  appeased.  The  wind  went  down,  the  water  calmed, 
and  the  ship  reached  Kazusa  Province  in  safety.  Yamato- 
dake  went  as  far  as  Yezo,  putting  down  small  rebellions 
on  the  way. 

Several  years  afterwards,  accompanied  by  many  of  his 
old  officers,  he  found  himself  back  on  the  side  of  a  hill 
in  Sagami  Province  overlooking  the  place  where  poor 
Tachibana  Hime  had  given  up  her  life  for  him  by 
throwing  herself  into  the  sea.  The  Prince  gazed  sadly 
at  the  sea,  and  thrice  exclaimed,  with  tears  flowing  down 
his  cheeks, — brave  though  he  was — '  Azuma  waya  ! '  (Alas, 
my  dearest  wife !)  ;  and  Eastern  Japan,  about  the  middle, 
has  since  then  been  called  *  Azuma.' 



SOME  four  or  five  hundred  years  ago  there  was  an  old 
temple  not  far  from  Fushimi,  near  Kyoto.  It  was  called 
the  Shozenji  temple,  and  had  been  deserted  for  many 
years,  priests  fearing  to  live  there,  on  account  of  the 
ghosts  which  were  said  to  haunt  it.  Still,  no  one  had 
ever  seen  the  ghosts.  No  doubt  the  story  came  into  the 
people's  minds  from  the  fact  that  the  whole  of  the  priests 
had  been  killed  by  a  large  band  of  robbers  many  years 
beyond  the  memory  of  men — for  the  sake  of  loot,  of  course. 
So  great  a  horror  did  this  strike  into  the  minds  of  all, 
that  the  temple  was  allowed  to  rot  and  run  to  ruin. 

1  Somewhere  between  the  years  1400  and  1550  there  lived  a  family  of  celebrated 
painters  covering  three  generations,  and  consequently  difficult  to  be  accurate  about. 
There  were  Tosa  Mitsunobu,  Kano  Mitsunobu,  and  Hasegawa  Mitsunobu  j  some- 
times Tosa  Mitsunobu  signed  his  pictures  as  Fujiwara  Mitsunobu.  When  to  this 
I  add  that  there  were  other  celebrated  painters — Kano  Masanobu,  Kano  Motonobu, 
besides  their  families,  imitators,  and  name  forgers — you  will  realise  the  difficulties  into 
which  one  may  fall  in  fixing  on  names  and  dates  ;  but,  as  usual,  I  have  been  placed 
safely  on  high  ground  by  a  kind  friend,  H.E.  Mr.  Hattori,  the  Governor,  whose 
knowledge  of  Art  is  great.  Undoubtedly  it  was  Tosa  Mitsunobu  who  painted  the 
picture  known  as  the  Hiyakki  Yako,  or  as  The  One  Hundred  Ghosts'  Procession, 
which  is  celebrated,  and  has  served  as  a  map  of  instruction  in  the  drawing  of  hobgoblins 
and  ghosts,  '  spooks,'  '  eries,'  or  whatever  you  may  choose  to  call  them.  As  far  as  I  can 
judge,  the  picture  was  painted  about  the  end  of  the  first  half  of  the  fifteenth  century. 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

One  year  a  priest,  a  pilgrim  and  a  stranger,  passed  by 
the  temple,  and,  not  knowing  its  history,  went  in  and 
sought  refuge  from  the  weather,  instead  of  continuing  his 
journey  to  Fushimi.  Having  cold  rice  in  his  wallet,  he 
felt  that  he  could  not  do  better  than  pass  the  night 
there  ;  for,  though  the  weather  might  be  cold,  he  would 
at  all  events  save  drenching  the  only  clothes  which  he  had, 
and  be  well  off  in  the  morning. 

The  good  man  took  up  his  quarters  in  one  of  the 
smaller  rooms,  which  was  in  less  bad  repair  than  the  rest 
of  the  place  ;  and,  after  eating  his  meal,  said  his  prayers 
and  lay  down  to  sleep,  while  the  rain  fell  in  torrents  on 
the  roof  and  the  wind  howled  through  the  creaky 
buildings.  Try  as  he  might,  the  priest  could  not  sleep, 
for  the  cold  draughts  chilled  him  to  the  marrow.  Some- 
where about  midnight  the  old  man  heard  weird  and 
unnatural  noises.  They  seemed  to  proceed  from  the 
main  building. 

Prompted  by  curiosity,  he  arose  ;  and  when  he  got  to 
the  main  building  he  found  Hiyakki  Yako  (meaning  a 
procession  of  one  hundred  ghosts) — a  term,  I  believe, 
which  had  been  generally  applied  to  a  company  of  ghosts. 
The  ghosts  fought,  wrestled,  danced,  and  made  merry. 
Though  greatly  alarmed  at  first,  our  priest  became 
interested.  After  a  few  moments,  however,  more  awful 
spirit-like  ghosts  came  on  the  scene.  The  priest  ran  back 
to  the  small  room,  into  which  he  barred  himself ;  and  he 
spent  the  rest  of  the  night  saying  masses  for  the  souls 
of  the  dead. 

At  daybreak,  though  the  weather  continued  wet,  the 
priest  departed.  He  told  the  villagers  what  he  had  seen, 



c  The  Procession  of  Ghosts ' 

a'nd  they  spread  the  news  so  widely  that  within  three  or 
four  days  the  temple  was  known  as  the  worst-haunted 
temple  in  the  neighbourhood. 

It  was  at  this  time  that  the  celebrated  painter  Tosa 
Mitsunobu  heard  of  it.  Having  ever  been  anxious  to 
paint  a  picture  of  Hiyakki  Yako,  he  thought  that  a  sight 
of  the  ghosts  in  Shozenji  temple  might  give  him  the 
necessary  material  :  so  off  to  Fushimi  and  Shozenji  he 

Mitsunobu  went  straight  to  the  temple  at  dusk,  and 
sat  up  all  night  in  no  very  happy  state  of  mind  ;  but  he 
saw  no  ghosts,  and  heard  no  noise. 

Next  morning  he  opened  all  the  windows  and  doors 
and  flooded  the  main  temple  with  light.  No  sooner  had 
he  done  this  than  he  found  the  walls  of  the  place  covered, 
as  it  were,  with  the  figures  or  drawings  of  ghosts  of 
indescribable  complexity.  There  were  far  more  than  two 
hundred,  and  all  different. 

Could  he  but  remember  them  !  That  was  what  Tosa 
Mitsunobu  thought.  Drawing  his  notebook  and  brush 
from  his  pocket,  he  proceeded  to  take  them  down 
minutely.  This  occupied  the  best  part  of  the  day. 

During  his  examination  of  the  outlines  of  the  various 
ghosts  and  goblins  which  he  had  drawn,  Mitsunobu  saw 
that  the  fantastic  shapes  had  come  from  cracks  in  the 
damp  deserted  walls  ;  these  cracks  were  filled  with  fungi 
and  mildew,  which  in  their  turn  produced  the  toning, 
colouring,  and  eventually  the  figures  from  which  he 
compiled  his  celebrated  picture  Hiyakki  Yako.1  Grateful 

1  It  is  well  known  that  certain  fungi  and  mildews  produce  phosphorescent  light  amid 
certain   circumstances.     No   doubt  the  priest   saw  the  cracks   in  the  wall   amid  these 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

was  he  to  the  imaginative  priest  whose  stories  had  led  him 
to  the  place.  Without  him  never  would  the  picture  have 
been  drawn  ;  never  could  the  horrible  aspects  of  so  many 
ghosts  and  goblins  have  entered  the  mind  of  one  man, 
no  matter  how  imaginative. 

My  painter's  illustration  gives  a  few,  copied  from  a 
first-hand  copy  of  Mitsunobu's. 

circumstances,  and  the  noise  he  heard  was  made  by  rats.  I  once  read  a  story  about  a 
haunted  country-house  in  England,  the  ghost  in  which  was  eventually  found  to  be  a 
luminous  fungus. 




IN  the  reign  of  the  Emperor  Engi,  which  began  in  the 
year  901  A.D.,  there  lived  a  man  whose  name  has  ever 
since  been  celebrated  on  account  of  his  beautiful  writings, 
poetic  and  other.  He  was  the  Emperor's  great  favourite, 
and  consequently  he  was  the  strong  man  of  the  day  ; 
his  name  was  Sugawara  Michizane.  Needless  to  say, 
it  was  not  very  long  before,  with  all  these  things  in  his 
favour,  he  was  the  head  of  the  Government,  living  in 

Things  went  well  enough  for  a  time  ;  but  the  inevit- 
able came  at  last.  Not  all  the  people  agreed  with 
Michizane's  ideas  or  his  politics.  Secret  enemies  lurked 
at  every  corner.  Among  them  was  one  particularly  bad 
man  named  Tokihira,  whose  poisonous  intrigues  at  Court 
were  constant. 

Tokihira  held  a  Government  position  under  Michizane, 
and  hated  him  in  his  heart,  thinking  that  if  he  could 
but  arrange  to  get  Michizane  into  the  bad  graces  of  the 

1  This  little  tragedy,  showing  the  deep  loyalty  which  was  general   1000  years  ago, 
was  told  to  me  by  Mr.  Matsuzaki  of  the  Kencho  (Government  Office). 

65  9 

Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

Emperor     he    himself    might     become     leader     of    the 

Michizane  was  a  man  with  whom  little  fault  could 
be  found,  and  so  it  came  to  pass  that  Tokihira  was  unable 
to  find  any  cause  for  starting  evil  reports  about  him  ; 
but  as  time  went  on  he  became  more  determined  to  do 
evil  in  the  end. 

At  last  an  opportunity  arrived.  Tokihira,  who  had 
many  secret  agents  trying  to  discover  something  to  be 
reported  to  the  Emperor  against  Michizane,  heard  a 
statement  that  Prince  Toki  (Toki  no  Miya)  had  fallen 
secretly  in  love  with  the  beautiful  daughter  of  Michizane, 
and  that  they  held  secret  meetings. 

Tokihira  was  overjoyed  at  the  news,  and  went 
straightway  to  the  Emperor,  who  received  him,  hearing 
that  he  had  a  marvellous  tale  of  intrigue  to  tell. 

'  Your  Majesty/  said  Tokihira,  *  much  as  I  grieve  to 
tell  it,  a  serious  plot  is  about.  Sugawara  Michizane  has 
so  arranged  it  that  your  Majesty's  younger  brother, 
Prince  Toki,  has  fallen  in  love  with  his  daughter. 
Deeply  as  I  regret  to  say  it,  they  hold  secret  meetings. 
Moreover,  Michizane,  your  Majesty's  Premier,  is 
scheming  that  your  Majesty  may  be  assassinated,  or  at 
least  dethroned  in  favour  of  Prince  Toki,  who  is  to  marry 
Michizane's  daughter.' 

Naturally  the  Emperor  Engi  was  infuriated.  He  was 
a  good  and  sound  monarch,  and  had  ruled  the  people, 
with  the  aid  of  Michizane,  fairly,  firmly,  and  well.  He 
had  looked  upon  Michizane  as  a  personal  friend  ;  and 
to  think  of  Michizane  conspiring  his  assassination,  or  at 
all  events  so  scheming  as  to  place  Prince  Toki  on  the 



A  Faithful  Servant 

throne,  and  to  marry  his  own  daughter  to  the  Prince,  was 
more  than  he  could  stand. 

He  sent  for  Michizane. 

Michizane  protested  his  innocence.  True  it  was,  he 
said,  that  the  Prince  had  fallen  in  love  with  his  daughter  ; 
but  that  was  not  much  to  be  wondered  at.  His  daughter 
was  beautiful  ;  the  Prince  and  she  were  much  of  the  same 
age,  and  had  seen  much  of  each  other  from  their  child- 
hood. Now  that  they  had  grown  older,  they  found  that 
their  friendship  had  turned  to  love.  That  was  all.  It 
was  not  easy  for  a  Prince  of  the  blood  royal  to  meet 
the  lady  of  his  heart  quite  so  openly  as  another  might ; 
and,  no  doubt,  they  had  met,  for  his  daughter  had  told 
him  so.  As  to  the  plot  asserted  by  Tokihira,  that  was 
absolutely  fanciful,  and  it  was  an  astonishment  to  hear  of 
so  dastardly  an  accusation. 

Tokihira  perceived  the  temper  of  the  Emperor.  By 
loud  words  and  unscrupulous  lies  he  upset  all  the  un- 
fortunate Michizane's  protests  ;  and  the  Emperor  ordered 
Michizane  to  be  sent  for  the  rest  of  his  life  to  Tsukushi, 
in  the  island  of  Kyushu. 

Accompanied  only  by  his  faithful  servant  Matsuo, 
Michizane  went  into  exile.  The  punishment  of  Michizane, 
unjust  as  it  was,  broke  up  the  employment  of  many 
others.  All  those  who  had  been  closely  associated  with 
him  were  dismissed.  Among  them  was  Takebayashi 
Genzo,  who  had  been  one  of  Michizane's  chief  attendants. 
Genzo  had  been  one  of  Michizane's  literary  pupils  ;  con- 
sequently it  is  not  astonishing  that  on  losing  employment, 
Genzo  fled  to  a  small  town,  and  out  of  duty  took  with 
him  Michizane's  wife  and  young  son  Kanshusai,  aged 

Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

ten.  All  changed  their  names,  and  Genzo,  to  support 
them  as  well  as  his  own  family,  established  a  small 

Thus  it  was  that  for  some  time  Kanshusai  escaped  the 
wicked  designs  against  his  life  that  had  been  planned  by 

Matsuo,  the  faithful  servant  who  had  followed  his 
master  Michizane  into  banishment,  heard  of  a  vile  plot 
to  assassinate  his  master's  son,  and  after  many  weary 
days  of  thought  as  to  how  he  could  prevent  it  he  per- 
ceived that  the  only  way  would  be  to  sacrifice  his  own 
son  instead. 

First  he  told  his  banished  master  of  his  intention,  and 
having  obtained  leave  he  journeyed  back  to  Kyoto,  and 
sought  out  Tokihira  himself,  to  whom  he  offered  his 
services  both  as  a  servant  and  as  a  hunter  of  Michizane's 
son  Kanshusai.  Tokihira  readily  engaged  him,  thinking 
that  now  he  would  be  sure  to  find  the  boy  whom  he 
wished  to  have  beheaded.  Tokihira  had  taken  the  place 
of  Michizane  in  the  Emperor's  favour,  and  had  great 
power  ;  his  will  was  almost  law. 

So  well  did  Matsuo  play  his  part  in  Tokihira's  house- 
hold and  among  his  servants,  it  was  not  long  before  they 
were  all  agreed  that  Matsuo  was  most  faithful  to  his  new 
master,  and  the  greatest  confidence  was  placed  in  him. 

Shortly  after  this,  it  came  to  the  knowledge  of  Tokihira 
that  Kanshusai  was  hidden,  under  a  different  name,  in  the 
school  which  belonged  to  Genzo.  Genzo  was  ordered 
to  send  the  boy's  head  to  Tokihira  within  forty-eight 

Matsuo,  ever  faithful,  hearing  of  this,  went  to  Genzo's 


A  Faithful  Servant 

school  in  disguise  and  disclosed  to  the  schoolmaster,  who 
readily  assented,  his  scheme  for  saving  Kanshusai.  Then 
Matsuo  sent  his  son  Kotaro  to  Genzo's  school,  from 
which  he  never  returned  alive,  poor  boy  ;  and  though 
(in  all  honour  be  it  said)  Genzo  did  not  like  the  killing 
of  this  boy,  he  steeled  his  nerves,  for  the  sake  of  his 
former  master  and  to  save  Kanshusai's  life. 

With  one  blow  of  his  sword  he  took  off  the  innocent 

At  the  appointed  time  Tokihira's  officials  called  at  the 
school  to  fetch  it,  and  they  carried  it  back  to  Tokihira, 
saying  :  c  Now,  Lord  Tokihira,  there  is  no  longer  fear 
for  the  future  from  Michizane's  son,  for  here  is  his  head 
in  this  box.  See  !  And  here  is  the  schoolmaster  Take- 
bayashi  Genzo,  who  followed  your  lordship's  orders  and 
cut  it  off/ 

Tokihira  was  pleased,  but  not  perfectly  assured  that 
the  head  was  the  right  one  :  so,  knowing  that  Matsuo 
had  previously  been  employed  by  Michizane,  and  that  he 
must  know  if  it  were  Kanshusai's  head  or  not,  he  called 
him,  ordering  him  to  take  the  head  out  of  the  box  and 
identify  it. 

Poor  Matsuo  !  Imagine  his  feelings  at  having  to  draw 
his  only  son  Kotaro's  head  from  the  box,  and  hold  it  up 
by  the  hair,  and  assure  the  Lord  Tokihira  that  it  was 
indeed  the  head  of  Kanshusai,  Michizane's  son  !  He  did 
so,  however,  with  great  nerve  and  splendid  fortitude, 
thus  saving  the  life  of  Kanshusai,  and  fulfilling  his  duty 
to  his  banished  master  Michizane. 

Matsuo's  fidelity  is  still  adored  by  those  who  know 
the  story. 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

Not  long  after  a  terrible  thunderstorm  came  over  Kyoto. 
A  thunderbolt  crashed  through  Tokihira's  palace  and 
killed  him.  To  this  day  people  say  that  Michizane's 
spirit  came  down  in  the  shape  of  that  thunderbolt  to  be 




SEVERAL  hundred  years  ago  there  dwelt  in  lands  of  the 
Hosokawas  a  widow  and  her  daughter,  a  beautiful  girl 
of  seventeen,  named  Kazuye.  O  Kazuye  San's  father  had 
been  foully  murdered:  some  six  months  before,  and  both 
Kazuye  and  her  mother  had  made  up  their  minds  to 
devote  their  fortune  and  their  lives  to  bringing  the 
criminals  to  justice.  In  these  efforts  they  received  no  help, 
but  spent  the  whole  of  their  money,  until  at  last  they 
were  almost  forced  to  beg  in  the  street  for  food.  Day 
after  day,  however,  they  continued  to  pray  in  the  temple 
for  help,  and  never  once  lost  heart  or  weakened  in  their 
purpose.  O  Kazuye  told  her  mother  that  were  she 
fortunate  enough  to  gain  the  affections  of  a  man,  even  he 
should  be  sacrificed  in  the  effort  after  vengeance. 

One  day  it  came  to  pass  that  the  poverty-stricken 
appearance  of  Kazuye  2nd  her  mother,  returning  as  usual 
from  praying  in  the  temple,  aroused  the  mirth  of  a  party 

1  Told  to  me  by  Mr.   Matsuzaki,  and  said  to  be  perfectly  true,  the  document  in 
question  being  in  possession  of  the  present  Prince  Hosokawa. 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

of  roughs,  who  proceeded  to  insult  them.  A  handsome 
young  samurai,  Okawa  Jomoyemon,  happened  to  come 
along.  Drawing  his  sword,  he  very  soon  put  the  roughs 
to  flight.  Having  done  this,  and  bowing  low,  he  asked 
whom  he  had  the  honour  of  serving. 

O  Kazuye  answered  for  her  mother,  and  quickly 
recognised  that  this  handsome  youth  was  just  such  as  she 
had  longed  to  meet,  so  that  he  might  fall  in  love  and  wish 
to  help  her  in  seeking  out  the  murderer  of  her  father. 
Therefore,  not  unnaturally,  she  encouraged  him  ;  and  he 
fell  in  love  with  her.  In  the  meanwhile  an  old  friend  of 
Kazuye's  father,  feeling  great  sorrow  for  her,  had  found  a 
place  for  her  in  Prince  Hosokawa's  household  ;  and  there 
she  won  such  favour  in  the  eyes  of  the  Prince  (or,  as  the 
title  then  was,  Daimio)  that  the  other  maids  began  to  be 

It  happened  that  one  evening  Okawa,  now  desperately 
in  love  with  O  Kazuye,  in  spite  of  being  the  retainer  of 
another  Daimio,  felt  that  he  must  see  her  at  all  costs. 
He  arranged  a  secret  meeting,  and  eventually  found  his 
way  to  Kazuye's  apartment.  Still  full  of  desire  for  venge- 
ance, she  seized  upon  the  occasion  to  pour  forth  her  story 
and  implore  assistance. 

Okawa,  being  a  true  knight-errant,  vowed  that  he 
would  speak  no  more  of  love  until  he  himself  had  hunted 
down  and  killed  the  murderers  of  Kazuye's  father.  Just 
as  he  had  finished  making  this  vow,  one  of  the  jealous 
maids  (who  had  been  listening)  made  her  presence  known, 
and  rushed  off  to  tell  her  mistress. 

What  was  to  be  done  ?  Okawa,  the  retainer  of 
another  Daimio,  caught  in  the  castle  secretly  conversing 



Prince  Hosokawa's  Valuable  Title-Deeds 

with  one  of  the  Hosokawa  maids  of  honour  !  Surely  both 
he  and  she  would  suffer  death  !  O  Kazuye  was  not  long 
in  thinking.  She  hid  her  lover  in  an  old  armour-case. 
That,  however,  was  no  use.  She  was  instantly  summoned 
into  the  presence  of  the  Daimio,  and  the  armour-chest 
was  carried  in  as  well. 

The  Daimio,  furiously  angry,  ordered  that  O  Kazuye 
should  be  killed.  Okawa  spoke  up.  He  said  that  she 
was  in  no  way  responsible  for  this  secret  meeting,  that  the 
fault  was  entirely  his ;  and  begged  that  he  might  be 
allowed  to  die  in  place  of  her.  Moreover,  he  told  the 
whole  story  of  Kazuye's  life,  and  mentioned  that  her 
ambition  in  life  was  to  avenge  the  death  of  her  father. 

The  Daimio  was  greatly  touched.  Recognising  the 
chivalry  on  both  sides,  he  took  Okawa  into  his  own  service, 
promising  at  the  same  time  to  aid  them  both  in  fulfilling 
their  purpose. 

Tears  of  gratitude  came  into  Okawa's  eyes,  and  he 
vowed  there  and  then  to  sacrifice  his  life  for  Hosokawa 
on  the  very  first  opportunity. 

After  about  a  year  had  passed  a  great  fire  broke  out 
in  the  castle.  It  was  so  sudden  that  nothing  could  be 
done.  The  wind,  fanning  the  flames,  barely  gave  time 
for  the  people  to  escape,  much  less  to  carry  off  the  family 

When  all  were  clear  of  the  burning  mass  the  Daimio 
suddenly  remembered  that  his  title-deeds  would  be  lost, 
and  that  such  a  disaster  would  be  dangerous  for  his  family. 
Realising  this,  he  jumped  from  his  horse,  and  was  about 
to  dash  back  to  try  and  recover  them  ;  but  his  retainers 
held  him,  fearing  that  he  would  die. 

73  i° 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

Okawa,  hearing  this,  thought  with  delight  that  now  an 
opportunity  had  come  to  him  to  save  his  new  master  and 
pay  him  for  the  kindness  to  himself  and  Kazuye.  He 
rushed  into  the  burning  mass,  and,  having  broken  open 
the  iron  safe,  seized  the  valuable  documents.  Then  he 
found  escape  impossible.  He  was  cut  off  by  fire  on  all 
sides,  and  plainly  saw  that  both  he  and  the  papers  must 
be  burned.  At  this  moment  a  thought  came  to  him. 
Though  he  must  be  burned,  possibly  his  body  might  save 
the  documents.  Drawing  his  short  sword,  he  deliberately 
disembowelled  himself,  and  thrust  the  roll  of  papers  into 
his  stomach.  Then  he  flung  himself  on  the  flaming  floor 
and  died.  The  fire  went  on.  Poor  Okawa  was  charred 
beyond  recognition. 

When  the  fire  was  over  his  body  was  recovered,  and 
inside  the  roasted  corpse  was  found  the  blood-stained  roll 
of  papers  on  which  the  Hosokawa  family  depended. 
From  that  time  on,  the  document  has  been  called 
'  Hosokawa  no  chi  daruma '  —  the  blood  -  stained 
document  of  the  Hosokawas. 



IN  the  days  when  Ashikaga  was  Shogun  there  served 
under  him  a  knight  of  good  family,  Kato  Sayemon,  of 
whom  he  was  especially  fond.  Things  went  well  with 
Sayemon.  He  lived  in  what  might  almost  be  called  a 
palace.  Money  he  possessed  in  plenty.  He  had  a 
charming  wife  who  had  borne  him  a  son,  and,  according 
to  old  custom,  he  had  many  others  who  lived  as  wives 
within  his  mansion.  There  was  no  war  in  the  land. 

1  Told  to  me  by  Mr.  Matsuzaki.  I  cannot  say  that  I  think  much  of  the  story. 
Sayemon  is  made  a  hero ;  but  he  must  appear  to  most  as  a  rather  cowardly  and  low 
creature.  I  remarked  upon  this  to  Mr.  Matsuzaki,  saying  :  '  I  do  not  see  that  the 
story  is  finished.  You  make  Sayemon  out  a  model  person,  whereas  to  me  he  appears 
the  worst  one  in  the  story.  Surely  the  wife  and  the  son  should  have  come  out  as  the 
good  people  j  but  you  laud  and  praise  Sayemon  for  leaving  his  family,  and  refusing  to 
recognise  them  when  they  had  no  sin  against  themselves.'  'I  do  not  admit  the 
difficulty,'  said  Mr.  Matsuzaki.  'It  is  the  same  as  the  Lord  Buddha.  He  also  left 
his  wife,  and  devoted  his  life  to  religious  affairs  just  as  Sayemon  did.'  Well,  I  could 
not  agree  with  this.  Buddha  was  Buddha,  a  benefactor  and  helper  to  the  whole  of  Asia. 
Sayemon  was  a  poor  miserable  weakling  who  simply  sought  personal  peace.  As  far  as 
the  story  goes  I  defy  anybody  to  find  him  a  hero,  or  a  person  who  in  any  way  emulated 
Buddha— unless  he  did  so  from  an  entirely  Japanese  point  of  view.  The  story,  how- 
ever, is  quite  a  celebrated  one,  referred  to  in  many  Japanese  books :  so  Mr.  Matsuzaki 
tells  me. 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

Sayemon  found  no  trouble  in  his  household.  Peace  and 
contentment  reigned.  He  enjoyed  life  accordingly,  by 
feasting  and  so  forth.  c  Oh  that  such  a  life  could  last !  ' 
thought  he  ;  but  fate  decreed  otherwise. 

One  evening,  when  Sayemon  was  strolling  about  in 
his  lovely  garden,  watching  the  fireflies  and  listening 
to  singing  insects  and  piping  toads,  of  which  he  was 
extremely  fond,  he  happened  to  pass  his  wife's  room  and 
to  look  up. 

There  he  saw  his  dear  wife  and  his  favourite  concubine 
playing  chess  ('  go/  in  Japanese).  What  struck  him  most 
was  that  they  appeared  perfectly  happy  and  contented  in 
each  other's  society.  While  Sayemon  looked,  however, 
their  hair  seemed  to  rear  up  from  behind  in  the  shapes 
of  snakes  which  fought  desperately.  This  filled  him  with 

Sayemon,  in  amazement,  stealthily  approached  in  order 
to  see  better  ;  but  he  found  the  vision  just  the  same. 
His  wife  and  the  other  lady,  when  moving  their  men, 
smiled  at  each  other,  showing  every  sign  of  great  courtesy  ; 
nevertheless,  there  remained  the  indistinct  outlines  of  their 
hair  assuming  the  forms  of  fighting  snakes.  Hitherto 
Sayemon  had  thought  of  them  as  almost  sisters  to  each 
other,  and  so  outwardly  had  they  in  fact  appeared  ;  but, 
now  that  he  had  seen  the  mysterious  sign  of  the  snakes, 
he  knew  that  they  hated  each  other  more  than  could  be 
understood  by  a  man. 

He  became  uneasy  in  his  mind.  Until  then  his  life 
had  been  rendered  doubly  happy  because  he  thought  his 
home  was  peaceful  ;  but  now,  he  reflected,  hatred  and 
malice  must  be  rampant  in  the  house.  Sayemon  felt  as  if 




The  Story  of  Kato  Sayemon 

he  were  a  rudderless  boat,  being  drawn  towards  a  cataract, 
from  which  no  means  of  escape  seemed  possible. 

He  spent  a  sleepless  night  in  meditation,  during  which 
he  decided  that  to  run  away  would  be  the  safest  course  in 
the  end.  Peace  was  all  that  he  craved  for.  To  obtain  it, 
he  would  devote  himself  to  religious  work  for  the  rest  of 
his  life. 

Next  morning  Kato  Sayemon  was  nowhere  to  be  found. 
There  was  consternation  in  the  household.  Men  were 
dispatched  here,  there,  and  everywhere  ;  but  Sayemon 
could  not  be  found.  On  the  fifth  or  sixth  day  after  the 
disappearance  his  wife  reduced  the  establishment,  but 
continued  herself,  with  her  little  son  Ishidomaro,  to  live 
in  the  house.  Even  the  Shogun  Ashikaga  was  greatly 
disconcerted  at  Sayemon's  disappearance.  No  news  of 
him  came,  and  time  passed  on  until  a  year  had  gone, 
and  then  another,  when  Sayemon's  wife  resolved  to  take 
Ishidomaru,  aged  five,  and  go  in  search. 

For  five  weary  years  they  wandered  about,  this  mother 
and  son,  making  inquiries  everywhere  ;  but  not  the 
slightest  clue  could  they  get,  until  at  last  one  day  they 
were  staying  at  a  village  in  Kishu,  where  they  met  an  old 
man  who  told  them  that  a  year  before  he  had  seen  Kato 
Sayemon  at  the  temple  of  Koya  San.  'Sure,'  he  said, 
*  I  knew  him,  for  I  was  once  a  palanquin-bearer  for  the 
Shogun,  and  often  and  often  saw  Sayemon  San.  I  cannot 
say  if  he  is  at  the  temple ;  but  he  was  a  priest  there  a 
year  ago/ 

.For  Ishidomaro  and  his  mother  there  was  but  little 
sleep  that  night.  They  were  in  a  fever  of  excitement. 
Ishidomaro  was  now  eleven  years  of  age,  and  was  most 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

anxious  to  have  his  father  at  home  ;  both  mother  and  son, 
happy  after  their  long  years  of  searching,  eagerly  looked 
forward  to  the  morrow. 

Unfortunately,  according  to  ancient  regulations,  Koya 
San  temple  and  mountain  were  only  for  men.  No 
woman  was  allowed  to  ascend  to  worship  the  image  of 
Buddha  on  this  mountain.  Thus  Ishidomaro's  mother 
had  to  remain  in  the  village  while  he  went  in  quest  of 
his  father. 

At  daybreak  he  started,  full  of  hope,  and  telling  his 
mother  not  to  fear.  *  I  will  bring  back  father  this  very 
evening/  said  he  ;  <  and  how  happy  we  shall  all  be  ! 
Farewell  for  the  time  being,  and  fear  not  for  me  !  ' 
So  saying,  Ishidomaro  went  off.  '  True,'  he  said,  *  I  do 
not  know  my  father  by  sight ;  but  he  has  a  black  mole 
over  his  left  eye,  and  so  have  I  ;  besides,  I  feel  that  it  is 
my  father  I  am  going  to  meet/  With  that  and  such 
other  thoughts  in  his  mind  the  boy  plodded  upwards 
through  the  tall  and  gloomy  forests,  stopping  here  and 
there  at  some  wayside  shrine  to  pray  for  success. 

Higher  and  higher  Ishidomaro  climbed — Koya  San  is 
near  noo  feet  in  height — until  he  reached  the  outer  gates 
of  the  temple,  of  which  the  true  name  is  '  Kongobuji/ 
for  '  Koya  San '  means  only  '  Koya  Mountain.' 

Arrived  at  the  first  priest's  house,  Ishidomaro  espied 
an  old  man  mumbling  prayers. 

*  Please,  sir/  said  he,  doffing  his  hat  and  bowing  low, 
'  could  you  tell  me  if  there  is  a  priest  here  called  Kato 
Sayemon?  Greatly  should  I  be  obliged  if  you  could 
direct  me  to  him.  He  has  only  been  a  priest  for  five 
years.  For  all  that  time  my  dear  mother  and  myself 


The   Story  of  Kato   Sayemon 

have  been  in  search  of  him.  He  is  my  father,  and  we 
both  love  him  much,  and  wish  him  to  come  back  to  us  ! ' 

c  Ah,  my  lad,  I  feel  sorry  for  you/  answered  Sayemon 
(for  it  was  indeed  he).  'I  know  of  no  man  called  Kato 
Sayemon  in  these  temples/  Delivering  himself  of  this 
speech,  Sayemon  showed  considerable  emotion.  He  fully 
recognised  that  the  boy  he  was  addressing  was  his  son, 
and  he  was  under  sore  distress  to  deny  him  thus,  and  not 
to  recognise  and  take  him  to  his  heart ;  but  Sayemon  had 
made  up  his  mind  that  the  rest  of  his  life  should  be 
sacrificed  for  the  sake  of  Buddha,  and  that  all  worldly 
things  should  be  cast  aside.  Ishidomaro  and  his  wife 
needed  no  money  or  food,  but  were  well  provided  for ; 
thus  he  need  not  trouble  on  those  grounds.  Sayemon 
determined  to  remain  as  he  was,  a  poor  monk,  hidden  in 
the  monastery  on  Koya  San.  With  a  desperate  effort 
he  continued  : 

c  I  don't  remember  ever  hearing  of  a  Kato  Sayemon's 
having  been  here,  though,  of  course,  I  have  heard  of  the 
Kato  Sayemon  who  was  the  great  friend  of  the  Shogun 

Ishidomaro  was  not  at  all  satisfied  with  this  answer. 
He  felt  somehow  or  other  that  he  was  in  the  presence  of 
his  father.  Moreover,  the  priest  had  a  black  mole  over 
his  left  eye,  and  he,  Ishidomaro,  had  one  exactly  the  same. 

'  Sir,'  said  he,  again  addressing  the  priest,  '  my  mother 
has  always  particularly  drawn  my  attention  to  the  mole 
over  my  left  eye,  saying,  "  My  son,  your  father  has  such  a 
mark  over  his  left  eye,  the  exact  counterpart ;  now, 
remember  this,  for  when  you  go  forth  to  seek  him  this 
will  be  a  sure  sign  to  you."  You,  sir,  have  the  exact 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

mark  that  I   have.     I   know  and  feel   that  you  are  my 
father  ! ' 

With  that,  tears  came  into  the  eyes  of  Ishidomaro,  and, 
outstretching  his  arms,  he  cried,  '  Father,  father,  let  me 
embrace  you  !  ' 

Sayemon  trembled  all  over  with  emotion ;  but 
haughtily  held  up  his  head  and,  recovering  himself, 
said  : 

'  My  lad,  there  are  many  men  and  many  boys  who 
have  moles  over  their  left  eyebrows,  and  even  over  their 
right.  I  am  not  your  father.  You  must  go  elsewhere 
to  seek  him.' 

At  this  moment  the  chief  priest  came  and  called 
Sayemon  to  the  evening  services,  which  were  held  in  the 
main  temple.  Thus  it  was  that  Sayemon  preferred  to 
devote  his  life  to  Buddha,  and  (as  Mr.  Matsuzaki  tells 
me)  to  emulate  Buddha,  rather  than  return  to  the  ways 
of  the  world  or  to  his  family,  or  even  to  recognise  his 
one  and  only  son  ! 

My  sympathies  are  with  Ishidomaro,  of  whom,  as  of 
his  poor  mother,  we  are  told  nothing  further.  To  end 
in  Mr.  Matsuzaki's  words  : 

'  What  became  of  Ishidomaro  and  his  mother  is  not 
known  ;  but  it  is  told  to  this  day  that  Kato  Sayemon 
passed  the  rest  of  his  life  in  peace  and  purity,  entirely 
sacrificing  his  body  and  soul  to  Buddha,  and  did  these 
things  without  any  person  to  mourn  over  him,  but  in 
perfect  contentment/ 

In  the  third  book  of  Sir  Edwin  Arnold's  Light  of  Asia 
are  the  following  verses,  which  were  addressed  to  Buddha, 
when  he  was  a  Prince,  by  the  winds  : — 


The  Story  of  Kato  Sayemon 

We  are  the  voices  of  the  wandering  wind  ; 
Wander  thou  too,  O  Prince,  thy  rest  to  find  ; 
Leave  love  for  love  of  lovers,  for  woe's  sake 
Quit  state  for  sorrow,  and  deliverance  make. 
So  sigh  we,  passing  o'er  the  silver  strings, 
To  thee  who  know'st  not  yet  of  earthly  things ; 
So  say  we  ;  mocking,  as  we  pass  away, 
Those  lovely  shadows  wherewith  thou  dost  play. 

No  one,  I  feel  sure,  will  fail  to  agree  with  me  that 
Sayemon  appears  as  a  weak,  selfish,  and  unheroic  personage 
— not  as  a  hero,  much  less  as  a  Buddha. 



SOME  1 20  years  ago,  in  the  year  of  Temmei,  a  most  terrible 
fire  broke  out  in  the  western  corner  of  Yedo, — the  worst 
fire,  probably,  that  is  known  to  the  world's  history,  for  it 
is  said  to  have  destroyed  no  fewer  than  188,000  persons. 

At  that  time  there  lived  in  Yedo,  now  Tokio,  a  very 
rich  pawnbroker,  Enshu  Hikoyemon,  the  proud  possessor 
of  a  beautiful  daughter  aged  sixteen,  whose  name  was  O 
Same,  which  in  this  instance  is  probably  derived  from  the 
word  '  sameru '  (to  fade  away),  for  in  truth  O  Same  San 
did  fade  away. 

Enshu  Hikoyemon  loved  his  daughter  dearly,  and,  he 
being  a  widower  with  no  other  child,  his  thoughts  and 
affections  were  concentrated  on  her  alone.  He  had 
long  been  rich  enough  to  cast  aside  the  mean  thoughts 
and  characteristics  which  had  enabled  him  to  reach  his 
present  position.  From  being  a  hard-hearted  relentless 
money-grubber,  Enshu  Hikoyemon  had  become  soft- 
hearted and  generous — as  far,  at  all  events,  as  his  daughter 
was  concerned. 

One  day  the  beautiful  O  Same  went  to  pray  at  her 






Great  Fire  caused  by  a  Lady's  Dress 

ancestors'  graves.  She  was  accompanied  by  her  maid,  and, 
after  saying  her  prayers,  passed  the  Temple  of  Hommyoji, 
which  is  in  the  same  grounds  at  Kongo  Maru  Yama,  and 
there,  as  she  repeated  her  prayers  before  the  image  of 
Buddha,  she  saw  a  young  priest,  with  whom  she  fell 
instantly  in  love.  Thitherto  she  had  had  no  love-affair  ; 
nor,  indeed,  did  she  fully  realise  what  had  happened, 
beyond  the  fact  that  the  youth's  face  pleased  her  to  gaze 
upon.  It  was  a  solemn  and  noble  face.  As  O  Same  lit  a 
joss-stick  and  handed  it  to  the  priest,  to  be  placed  before 
Buddha,  their  hands  met,  and  she  felt  pass  through  her 
body  a  thrill  the  like  of  which  she  had  never  experienced. 
Poor  O  Same  was  what  is  known  as  madly  in  love  at  first 
sight, — in  love  so  much  that  as  she  arose  and  left  the 
temple  all  she  could  see  was  the  face  of  the  young  priest  ; 
wherever  she  looked  she  saw  nothing  else.  She  spoke 
not  a  word  to  her  maid  on  the  way  home,  but  went  straight 
to  her  room. 

Next  morning  she  announced  to  the  maid  that  she  was 
indisposed.  '  Go,'  she  said,  '  and  tell  my  dear  father  that 
I  shall  remain  in  bed.  I  do  not  feel  well  this  day.' 

Next  day  was  much  the  same,  and  so  were  the  next  and 
the  next. 

Hikoyemon,  disconsolate,  tried  every  means  to  enliven 
his  daughter.  He  sought  to  get  her  away  to  the  seaside. 
He  offered  to  take  her  to  the  Holy  Temple  of  Ise  or  to 
Kompira.  She  would  not  go.  Doctors  were  called,  and 
could  find  nothing  wrong  with  O  Same  San.  '  She  has 
something  on  her  mind,  and  when  you  can  get  it  off  she 
will  be  well,'  was  all  that  they  could  say. 

At  last  O  Same  confessed  to  her  father  that  she  had 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

lost  her  heart  to  a  young  priest  in  the  Hommyoji  Temple. 
*  Nay,'  she  said  :  *  be  not  angry  with  me,  father,  for  I  do 
not  know  him,  and  have  seen  him  only  once.  In  that  once 
I  loved  him,  for  he  has  a  noble  face,  which  haunts  me 
night  and  day  ;  and  so  it  is  that  my  heart  is  heavy,  and 
my  body  sickens  for  the  want  of  him.  Oh,  father,  if  you 
love  me  and  wish  to  save  my  life,  go  and  find  him  and  tell 
him  that  I  love  him,  and  that  without  him  I  must  die  ! ' 

Poor  Hikoyemon  !  Here  was  a  nice  business — his 
daughter  in  love — dying  of  love  for  an  unknown  priest ! 
What  was  he  to  do  ?  First  he  humoured  his  daughter, 
and  at  last,  after  several  days,  persuaded  her  to  accompany 
him  to  the  temple.  Unfortunately,  they  did  not  see  the 
priest  in  question  ;  nor  did  they  on  a  second  visit ;  and 
after  this  O  Same  became  more  disconsolate  than  ever, 
absolutely  refusing  to  leave  her  room.  Night  and  day 
her  sobs  were  heard  all  over  the  house,  and  her  father 
was  utterly  wretched,  especially  as  he  had  now  found  out 
secretly  that  the  priest  with  whom  his  daughter  had  fallen 
in  love  was  one  of  the  most  strict  of  Buddha's  followers, 
and  not  likely  to  err  from  the  disciplinarian  rules  of 

In  spite  of  this,  Hikoyemon  determined  to  make  an 
effort  in  behalf  of  his  daughter.  He  ventured  to  the 
temple  alone,  saw  the  priest,  told  him  of  his  daughter's 
love,  and  asked  if  a  union  would  be  possible. 

The  priest  spurned  the  idea,  saying,  '  Is  it  not 
evident  to  you  by  my  robes  that  I  have  devoted  my  love 
to  Buddha  ?  It  is  an  insult  that  you  should  make  such  a 
proposition  to  me  ! ' 

Hikoyemon  returned  to  his  home  deeply  mortified  at 

Great  Fire  caused  by  a  Lady's  Dress 

the  rebuff;  but  felt  it  his  duty  to  be  candid  with  his 

O  Same  wept  herself  into  hysterics.  She  grew  worse 
day  by  day.  Hoping  to  distract  her  mind,  her  father 
had  got  made  for  her  a  magnificent  dress  which  cost 
nearly  yen  4000.  He  thought  that  O  Same  would  be 
vain  enough  to  wish  to  put  it  on,  and  to  go  out  and 
show  it. 

This  was  no  use.  O  Same  was  not  like  other  women. 
She  cared  not  for  fine  raiment  or  for  creating  sensations. 
She  put  the  costume  on  in  her  room,  to  please  her 
father  ;  but  then  she  took  it  off  again,  and  went  back  to 
her  bed,  where,  two  days  later,  she  died  of  a  broken  heart. 

Hikoyemon  felt  the  loss  of  his  pretty  daughter  very 
much.  At  the  funeral  there  must  have  been  half  a  mile 
of  flower-bearers. 

The  superb  dress  was  presented  to  the  temple.  Such 
dresses  are  carefully  kept  ;  they  remind  the  priests  to  say 
prayers  for  their  late  owners  as,  every  two  or  three  months, 
they  are  being  dusted  and  cleaned. 

The  Vicar  or  Head  Priest  of  this  temple,  however, 
was  not  a  good  man.  He  stole  this  particular  dress  of 
O  Same's,  knowing  the  value,  and  sold  it  secretly  to  a 
second-hand  dealer  in  such  things. 

Some  twelve  months  later  the  dress  was  again  donated 
to  the  same  temple  by  another  father  whose  daughter  had 
died  of  a  love-affair,  he  having  bought  the  dress  at  the 
second-hand  clothes-shop.  (This  girl  died  and  was  buried 
on  the  same  day  of  the  same  month  as  O  Same.) 

The  priest  of  the  temple  was  not  sorry  to  see  the 
valuable  garment  return  as  a  gift  to  his  church,  and, 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

being  mercenary,  he  sold  it  again.  It  seemed,  indeed, 
a  sort  of  gold-mine  to  himself  and  his  church.  Imagine, 
therefore,  the  feeling  among  the  priests  when,  in  the 
following  year,  in  the  same  month  and  on  exactly  the 
same  day  as  that  on  which  O  Same  and  the  other  girl  had 
died,  another  girl  of  exactly  the  same  age  was  buried  in 
their  cemetery,  having  died  also  of  a  love-affair,  and 
having  also  worn  the  splendid  dress  that  O  Same  was 
given,  which  was  duly  presented  to  the  temple,  at  the 
conclusion  of  her  burial  service,  for  the  third  time. 

To  say  that  the  chief  priest  was  astonished  would  be 
to  say  little.  He  and  the  rest  of  them  were  sorely 
perplexed  and  troubled. 

There  were  the  honest  priests,  who  had  had  nothing 
to  do  with  the  selling  of  the  garment,  and  the  dishonest 
head  priest  or  vicar.  The  honest  men  were  puzzled. 
The  vicar  was  frightened  into  thinking  honesty  the  best 
policy  amid  the  circumstances.  Accordingly,  he  assembled 
all  the  priests  of  the  temple,  made  a  hasty  confession, 
and  asked  for  advice. 

The  priests  came  to  one  conclusion,  and  that  was  that 
the  spirit  of  O  Same  San  was  in  the  dress,  and  that  it 
must  be  burned,  and  burned  with  some  ceremony,  so 
as  to  appease  her  spirit.  Accordingly  a  time  was  fixed. 
When  the  day  arrived  many  people  came  to  the  temple. 
A  great  ceremony  was  held,  and  finally  the  valuable 
garment  was  placed  upon  a  stone  cut  in  the  shape  of  a 
lotus  flower  and  lighted. 

The  weather  was  calm  at  the  time  ;  but  as  the 
garment  took  fire  a  sudden  gust  of  wind  came,  instantly 
fanning  the  whole  into  flame.  The  gust  increased  into 


Great   Fire  caused  by  a  Lady's  Dress 

a  storm,  which  carried  one  of  the  sleeves  of  the  dress  up 
to  the  ceiling  of  the  temple,  where  it  caught  between 
two  rafters  and  burned  viciously.  In  less  than  two  or 
three  minutes  the  whole  temple  was  on  fire.  The  fire 
went  on  for  seven  days  and  seven  nights,  at  the  expiration 
of  which  time  nearly  the  whole  of  the  south  and  western 
portions  of  Yedo  were  gone  ;  and  gone  also  were  188,000 

The  charred  remains  (as  far  as  possible)  were  collected 
and  buried,  and  a  temple  (which  now  exists),  called 
4  Eko  In,'  was  built  at  the  spot,  to  invoke  the  blessing 
of  Buddha  on  their  souls. 

NOTE  BY  MATSUZAKI. — At  the  present  day  the  Eko  In 
Temple  is  well  known.  Games  and  wrestling  are  held  there 
twice  a  year.  Visitors  to  the  temple  see  the  wrestling-place  ; 
but  no  one  asks  why  the  temple  was  built  there. 


Hojo  TOKIYORI — who,  my  Murray  says,  was  born  in 
1246  A.D.,  and  died  seventeen  years  later,  in  1263 — was 
Regent  for  a  time,  young  as  he  was. 

One  day  he  went  to  worship  at  the  shrine  of  Tsurugaoka 
in  Kamakura.  That  same  evening  he  dreamed  that  one 
of  the  gods  appeared  to  him  and  said  : 

*  Hojo  Tokiyori,  you  are  very  young  for  a  ruler,  and 
there  are  some  who  will  try  to  deceive  you,  for  honest 
men  are  scarce.  There  is  one  man  who  is  of  exceptional 
honesty,  however,  and  if  you  wish  to  govern  the  people 
successfully  it  would  be  advisable  to  employ  him.  His 
name  is  Awoto  Fujitsuna.' 

Hojo  Tokiyori  told  him  of  his  dream.  '  Nay,'  said  he  ; 
'  it  was  more  than  a  dream  :  it  was  a  vision  that  called 
upon  me  to  appoint  you  to  the  post,  which  I  have  done/ 

<  Ah,  indeed  ! '  quoth  Awoto  Fujitsuna.  *  Then,  sir, 
if  you  appoint  high  officials  as  the  result  of  dreams  and 
visions,  it  is  a  risky  matter,  for  by  those  dreams  we  may 
some  day  be  ordered  to  be  beheaded ! ' 

1  Told  to  me  by  my  friend  Mr.  Matsuzaki. 



History  of  Awoto   Fujitsuna 

Hojo  Tokiyori  laughed  at  this,  and  said  he  hoped 
not.  Awoto  Fujitsuna  turned  out  a  most  excellent  and 
trustworthy  official,  popular,  just,  and  honest.  No 
one  had  a  word  against  him,  and  Hojo  Tokiyori  was 

One  day  Fujitsuna  was  carrying  over  a  bridge  a 
bag  of  money  belonging  to  the  Government.  He  fell, 
and  the  bag  burst.  Fujitsuna  collected  the  money — with 
the  exception  of  a  half-cent  piece,  which  had  rolled  in 
some  way  over  the  edge  of  the  bridge  and  fallen  into 
the  river. 

Fujitsuna  could  have  let  it  go,  putting  another  in  its 
place  ;  but  that  course  would  not  have  been  up  to  the 
high  standard  of  his  morals  in  such  matters.  He  had  lost 
a  half-cent  which  belonged  to  the  Government.  It  was, 
he  knew,  in  the  river.  Consequently,  he  refused  to  move 
on  until  it  was  recovered.  That  was  clearly  his  duty. 
Awoto  Fujitsuna  ran  to  the  houses  at  either  end  of  the 
bridge,  telling  the  villagers  merely  that  he  had  dropped 
some  Government  money  into  the  river — would  they 
come  and  help  him  to  find  it?  Of  course  they  would, 
ready  to  help  as  the  Japanese  country-men  have  been 
from  time  immemorial.  All  followed  Fujitsuna  into  the 
river — men,  women,  and  children — and  a  diligent  search 
was  kept  up  by  several  hundreds  for  many  hours,  with- 
out result,  when  at  last,  just  as  the  sun  was  setting,  an 
old  farmer  picked  up  the  half-cent,  which  he  presented 
to  Fujitsuna. 

Fujitsuna  was  delighted,  and  told  the  people  that 
things  were  all  right  now  :  he  had  recovered  the  money 
— thanks  to  the  quick  sight  of  the  farmer. 

89  12 

Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

'  But,'  they  cried,  '  that  is  only  a  half-cent.  Where  is 
the  rest  ? ' 

4  My  friends,'  said  Fujitsuna,  '  the  half-cent  is  all  that 
was  lost ;  but  that  half-cent  was  not  mine  ;  it  was  part  of 
the  Government  treasure,  and  was  entrusted  to  me,  and 
it  was  my  duty  to  recover  it.  Here  are  thirty  yen  for 
you  who  have  helped  me  to  find  it,  to  spend  in  sake.  That 
is  my  money  ;  and  remember  what  I  tell  you  —  that,  no 
matter  how  small  a  thing  is  entrusted  to  you  by  the 
Government,  you  must  not  lose  it,  but  give  up  your  life 
and  fortune  sooner.' 

The  villagers  were  much  impressed  with  this  great 
honesty  and  way  of  reasoning. 

Hojo  Tokiyori,  on  hearing  the  little  story,  sent  for 
and  promoted  Awoto  Fujitsuna  to  a  higher  position  than 
he  had  held  before  ;  but,  in  spite  of  his  advances  and 
riches,  the  minister  continued  to  work  hard,  to  eat  simple 
food,  and  to  put  on  plain  raiment,  living  in  a  cottage 
instead  of  occupying  a  palace,  and  devoting  his  life  to 
his  country. 




OF  Yoritomo  Murray  says  that  c  he  lived  from  1147  to 
1199.  He  was  the  founder  of  the  Shogunate — the  first 
Japanese  Mayor  of  the  Palace,  if  one  may  so  phrase  it. 
A  scion  of  the  great  house  of  Minamoto,  as  shrewd  and 
ambitious  as  he  was  unscrupulous  and  inhuman,  he  was 
left  an  orphan  at  an  early  age,  and  barely  escaped  death 
as  a  lad  at  the  hands  of  Kiyomori,  the  then  all-powerful 
minister  who  belonged  to  the  rival  house  of  Taira.' 

In  this  excellently-concentrated  epitome  of  Yoritomo's 
fifty -two  years  of  life,  it  will  readily  be  seen  that  he 
must  have  had  innumerable  adventures.  Fighting  went 
on  throughout  his  career  ;  yet  oddly  enough,  in  spite  of 
all  this,  he  died  comfortably  in  bed. 

In  the  earlier  half  of  Yoritomo's  time  he  was  once 
severely  defeated  at  a  battle  against  Oba  Kage-chika  in 
the  Ishibashi  mountains,  in  the  province  of  Izu.  So  bad 
had  been  his  defeat  that  Yoritomo,  with  six  of  his  most 
faithful  followers,  to  use  vulgar  language,  made  a  bolt  of 
it.  They  ran,  not  over-boldly,  but  to  save  their  skins, 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

and  in  their  haste  to  escape  Oba  Kage-chika's  men  they 
took,  like  hunted  hares,  to  a  large  forest,  hoping  there  to 
escape  by  lying  concealed.  After  they  had  pushed  their 
way  into  the  thickest  and  heaviest  part  of  the  forest,  they 
came  to  an  enormous  hi  no  ki  tree,  partly  rotten,  and 
containing  a  hollow  which  was  large  enough  to  hide  them 
all.  Yoritomo  and  his  six  followers  eagerly  sought  refuge 
within  the  tree,  for  in  their  state  of  tiredness  they  could 
not  long  hope  to  escape  the  large  and  active  forces  of 
Oba  Kage-chika,  which  were  following  up  their  victory 
by  hunting  out  and  cutting  off  all  those  who  had  fled. 
When  he  reached  the  edge  of  the  forest,  Oba  Kage-chika 
sent  his  cousin  Oba  Kagetoki  to  search  for  Yoritomo, 
saying:  c  Go,  my  cousin,  and  bring  in  our  enemy  Yoritomo. 
It  is  the  opportunity  of  your  life,  for  sure  it  is  that  he 
must  be  in  this  forest.  I  myself  will  endeavour,  as  our 
men  come  up,  to  place  them  so  as  to  surround  the  forest.' 
Oba  Kagetoki  was  not  pleased  with  his  mission,  for  at 
one  time  he  had  known  and  been  friendly  with  Yoritomo. 
However,  he  bowed  low  to  his  cousin  and  went  off.  Half 
an  hour  after  starting  Oba  Kagetoki  came  to  the  enormous 
tree,  and  found  his  old  friend  Yoritomo  and  his  six 
faithful  attendants.  His  heart  softened,  and,  instead  of 
carrying  out  his  duty,  he  returned  to  Oba  Kage-chika, 
saying  that  he  had  been  unable  to  find  the  enemy,  and 
that  in  his  opinion  Yoritomo  had  escaped  from  the 

Oba  Kage-chika  was  very  angry,  and  openly  said  that 
he  did  not  believe  his  cousin — that  to  escape  from  the 
wood  was  impossible  in  such  a  short  time. 

'  Come  ! '  said  he.  c  Follow  me,  some  fifteen  or  twenty 



A  Life  saved  by  a  Spider  and  Two  Doves 

of  you  ;   and  you,  my  cousin,  lead  the  way  and  show  us 
where  you  went,  and  play  fair,  or  you  shall  suffer  for  it  ! ' 

Thus  bid,  Kagetoki  led  the  way,  carefully  avoiding 
the  big  tree,  for  he  was  determined  to  save  the  life  of 
Yoritomo  if  he  could.  By  some  misfortune,  however, 
he  chose  an  abominably  bad  path,  and  Kage-chika,  having 
on  a  particularly  heavy  suit  of  armour,  cried  out,  '  Enough 
of  your  leading  !  Let  us  stick  to  the  road  by  which 
we  started.  It  is  more  likely  to  be  the  one  which 
our  fugitives  took.  In  any  case,  this  is  no  road  at  all 
where  you  lead  us,  and  with  heavy  armour  on  it  is 

Thus  it  was  that  in  due  time  they  reached  the  huge 
tree.  Kagetoki  was  much  afraid  that  his  cousin  would 
go  into  the  hollow  and  find  Yoritomo,  and  set  to  think 
how  he  could  save  him. 

Kage-chika  was  about  to  enter  the  hollow  tree  when  a 
bright  idea  occurred  to  Kagetoki. 

'  Hold  ! '  said  he.  '  It  is  no  use  wasting  time  by 
going  in  there.  Can't  you  see  that  there  is  a  spider's 
web  right  across  the  entrance  ?  It  would  have  been 
quite  impossible  for  any  one  to  get  inside  without 
breaking  it. 

Kage-chika  was  half-inclined  to  agree  that  his  cousin 
was  right  ;  but,  being  still  a  little  suspicious  about  him, 
he  put  in  his  bow  to  feel  what  was  inside.  Just  as  his 
bow  was  about  to  be  thrust  against  Yoritomo's  heavy 
armour  (which  would  naturally  have  revealed  his  presence), 
two  beautiful  white  doves  flew  out  of  the  top  of  the  hole. 

'You  are  right,  cousin,'  said  Kage-chika,  laughing, 
when  he  saw  the  doves  :  '  I  am  wasting  time  here,  for  no 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

one  can  be  in  this  tree  with  wild  doves  in  it,  besides  the 
entrance  being  closed  by  a  cobweb/ 

Thus  it  was  that  Yoritomo's  life  was  saved  by  a 
spider  and  two  doves.  When  he  became  Shogun  in 
later  years,  and  fixed  upon  Kamakura  as  his  place  of 
residence  and  as  the  seat  of  government,  two  shrines  were 
built  in  the  temple  of  Tsuru-ga-oka,  which  itself  is 
dedicated  to  Hachiman,  the  God  of  War.  One  is 
dedicated  to  the  Emperor  Nintoku,  son  of  Ojin,  the  God 
of  War,  and  the  other  to  Yoritomo,  called  Shirahata 
Jinja.  The  shrines  were  erected  to  show  Yoritomo's 
gratitude  to  the  God  of  War,  for  doves  are  known  in 
Japan  as  the  messengers  of  war,  not  of  peace. 

NOTE. — I  think  that  the  shrine  called  by  Murray  c  Shirahata/ 
which  means  White  Flag,  is  really  c  Shiro  hatoj  the  white  doves. 
The  following  is  from  Murray  : — 

The  Temple  of  Hachiman,  the  God  of  War,  dating  from  the 
end  of  the  twelfth  century,  stands  in  a  commanding  position  on  a 
hill  called  Tsuru-ga-oka,  and  is  approached  by  a  stately  avenue  of 
pine  trees  leading  up  the  whole  way  from  the  seashore.  Though 
both  avenue  and  temple  have  suffered  from  the  ravages  of  time, 
enough  still  remains  to  remind  one  of  the  ancient  glories  of  the 
place.  Three  stone  torii  lead  up  to  the  temple,  which  stands  at 
the  head  of  a  broad  flight  of  stone  steps.  Notice  the  magnificent 
icho  tree,  nearly  20  feet  in  circumference,  and  said  to  be  over  a 
thousand  years  old,  and  the  flowering  trees  scattered  about  the 

Before  ascending  the  flight  of  steps,  the  minor  shrines  to  the 
rear  deserve  notice.  The  nearer  one,  painted  red  and  called 
Wakamiya,  is  dedicated  to  the  Emperor  Nintoku,  son  of  the  God 
of  War.  The  farther  one,  renovated  in  1890,  is  called  Shirahata 
Jinja,  and  dedicated  to  Yoritomo.  The  style  and  structure  are 


A  Life  saved  by  a  Spider  and  Two  Doves 

.  somewhat  unusual,  black  and  gold  being  the  only  colours  employed, 
and  iron  being  the  material  of  the  four  main  pillars.  The 
interior  holds  a  small  wooden  image  of  Yoritomo. 

A  side  path  leads  up  hence  to  the  main  temple,  which  is  en- 
closed in  a  square  colonnade  painted  red.  The  temple,  which  was 
re-erected  in  1828,  after  having  been  destroyed  by  fire  seven  years 
previously,  is  in  the  Ryobu  Shinto  style,  with  red  pillars,  beams, 
and  rafters,  and  is  decorated  with  small  painted  carvings,  chiefly 
of  birds  and  animals.  In  the  colonnade  are  several  religious 
palanquins  (mikoshi)  used  on  the  occasion  of  the  semi-annual 
festivals  (April  15  and  December  15),  a  wooden  image  of 
Sumiyoshi  by  Unkei,  and  a  few  relics  of  Yoritomo.  Most  of  the 
relics  once  preserved  in  the  temple  have  been  removed  to  the 
residence  of  the  Chief  Priest  (Hakozaki  Oyatsu-kwan),  and  are 
only  exhibited  at  festival  times. 

Immediately  behind  the  temple  of  Hachiman  is  a  small  hill 
called  Shirabata-yama,  whence  Yoritomo  is  said  to  have  often 
admired  the  prospect.  The  base  of  the  hill  is  enclosed  and  laid 
out  as  a  garden. 



MURAKAMI  YOSHITERU — we  shall  call  him  Yoshiteru  for 
short  —  was  one  of  the  faithful  retainers  of  Prince 
Morinaga,  third  son  of  the  Emperor  Godaigo,  who 
reigned  from  1319  to  1339.  When  I  say  'reigned/  I 
mean  that  Godaigo  was  Emperor ;  but  there  was  a 
Regent  at  the  time,  Hojo  Takatoki,  who  ruled  with 
harshness  and  great  selfishness. 

With  the  exception  of  young  Prince  Morinaga,  the 
Imperial  family  appeared  to  take  things  easily.  They 
preferred  quietude  and  comfort  to  turbulence  and 
quarrelling.  Prince  Morinaga  was  different.  Fiery- 
tempered  and  proud,  he  thought  that  Hojo  Takatoki  was 
usurping  the  Emperor's  rights.  The  man,  he  said,  was 
nothing  more  by  birth  than  one  of  the  Emperor's  subjects, 
and  had  no  business  to  be  made  Regent. 

Naturally  these  opinions  led  to  trouble,  and  it  was  not 
very  long  before  Prince  Morinaga  was  obliged  to  leave 
the  capital  suddenly,  with  his  followers,  of  whom  there 
were  some  hundreds,  not  enough  to  fight  Hojo  Takatoki 
at  the  time. 


^       V    "OF  THE 




Murakami  Yoshiteru's   Faithfulness 

Prince  Morinaga  had  made  up  his  mind  that  it  would 
be  better  to  live  independently  in  Yamato  than  to  be 
under  the  sway  of  Hojo  Takatoki,  as  were  his  father  and 
his  elder  brothers.  Having  collected  the  most  faithful 
of  his  followers — of  whom  the  most  notable  was  the  hero 
of  our  story,  Murakami  Yoshiteru, — the  Prince  left  the 
capital  in  disguise,  and  started  for  Yoshino  in  Yamato. 
There,  in  the  wild  mountains,  he  intended  to  build  a  castle, 
in  which  to  dwell  for  the  rest  of  his  days  independent  of 
the  Regent,  whom  he  held  in  much  loathing. 

Prince  Morinaga  carried  with  him  an  Imperial  flag, 
which,  he  expected,  would  gain  for  him  sympathy  and 
help  even  in  the  wild  Yamato  Province.  Though  from 
Kioto  the  then  capital  to  the  borders  of  Yamato  is,  in 
a  direct  line,  only  about  thirty  miles,  the  whole  country  is 
mountainous  and  wild  ;  roads  are  non-existent,  mountain 
paths  taking  their  place.  Consequently,  it  was  noon  on 
the  fifth  day  before  the  Prince  found  himself  at  a  little 
border  village  called  Imogase.  Here  he  found  his  way 
blocked  as  it  were  by  a  guard-house,  the  soldiery  of  which 
had  been  chosen  from  among  Imogase  villagers,  headed 
by  one  Shoji,  a  rough  and  disagreeable  man. 

When  Prince  Morinaga  and  his  party  of  about  eighty 
followers  dressed  as  yamabushi  (fighting  monks)  arrived, 
flying  the  standard,  they  were  called  to  a  halt  by  the 
village  guard,  and  told  that  they  could  go  no  farther  into 
Yamato  without  leaving  one  of  themselves  as  hostage. 
The  Prince  was  too  haughty  to  speak  to  the  villagers 
and  explain,  and,  unfortunately,  Murakami  Yoshiteru, 
his  most  trusted  leader,  could  not  be  found,  for  he  had 
remained  some  miles  behind  to  gather  straw  and  make  a 

97  13 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

new  pair  of  waraji  (straw  shoes).  Shoji,  leader  of  the 
Imogase  villagers,  was  firm  in  his  demand  that  one  of  the 
party  should  be  left  behind  until  their  return.  For  some 
twenty  minutes  matters  stood  thus.  Neither  side  wanted 
to  fight.  At  last  Shoji  said  : 

'  Well,  you  may  say  that  you  are  a  prince  !  I  am  a 
simple  villager,  and  I  don't  know.  You  may  carry  the 
Imperial  flag  ;  but  when  you  are  dressed  like  yamabushi 
it  does  not  look  exactly  as  if  you  were  a  prince.  As  I 
don't  want  trouble,  and  you  want  to  pass  without  trouble, 
— my  orders  being  that  out  of  all  parties  of  over  ten 
armed  people  I  am  to  hold  one  as  a  hostage, — the  only 
suggestion  that  I  can  make  is  that  I  keep  as  hostage  this 
Imperial  flag.' 

The  prince,  glad  enough  to  save  leaving  one  of  his 
faithful  followers,  gave  the  standard  to  Shoji  as  hostage, 
and  then  he  and  his  party  were  allowed  to  pass  into 
Yamato.  They  proceeded  on  their  way.  Not  half-an- 
hour  after  they  had  passed,  Murakami  Yoshiteru  arrived 
at  the  guard-house,  having  made  himself  a  pair  of  straw 
shoes,  to  take  the  place  of  his  old  ones  ;  and  his  surprise 
at  seeing  his  master's  flag  in  such  low  hands  was  equalled 
by  his  anger. 

4  What  is  the  meaning  of  this  ? '  he  asked. 

Shoji  explained  what  had  happened. 

On  hearing  the  story  Murakami  lost  control  of  his 
temper.  He  flew  into  a  violent  passion.  He  reviled 
Shoji  and  his  men  as  a  set  of  low  blackguards  who 
scarcely  had  a  right  to  look  at  the  Imperial  standard  of 
Japan,  much  less  to  dare  to  touch  it ;  and  with  that  he 
began  a  general  assault  on  the  village  guard,  killing  three 

Murakami  Yoshiteru's   Faithfulness 

or"  four  and  putting  the  rest  to  flight.  Murakami  then 
seized  the  standard,  and  ran  on  with  it  until,  towards 
evening,  he  came  up  with  the  Prince  and  his  party,  who 
were  overjoyed  at  what  he  had  done  and  at  the  recovery 
of  the  flag. 

Two  days  later  the  party  reached  Yoshino,  and  in  the 
vicinity  of  this  place  they  built  a  fortress,  where  for  some 
months  they  dwelt  in  peace.  It  was  not  long,  however, 
before  the  Regent  heard  of  the  prince's  whereabouts,  and 
he  soon  sent  a  small  army  after  him.  For  two  days  the 
fort  was  desperately  attacked  ;  on  the  third  the  outer 
gates  were  taken  ;  two-thirds  of  the  prince's  men  were 
dead.  Murakami  had  been  wounded  three  times,  and 
his  life  could  not  last  long.  Faithful  to  the  end,  he 
rushed  to  his  prince,  saying,  '  Master,  I  am  wounded  unto 
death.  In  less  than  half-an-hour  our  enemies  will  have 
conquered  us,  for  we  have  but  few  men  left.  Your 
Highness  is  unwounded,  and  can  in  disguise  escape  when 
the  end  comes.  Give  me  quick  your  armour,  and  let  me 
pretend  that  I  am  your  Highness.  I  will  show  our 
enemies  how  a  prince  can  die.' 

Changing  clothes  hastily,  and  donning  the  prince's 
armour,  Murakami,  bleeding  badly  from  his  wounds,  and 
already  more  dead  than  alive  with  weakness  from  the  loss 
of  blood,  regained  the  wall,  and  struggling  up  the  last 
steps  he  reached  a  point  where  he  could  see  and  be  seen 
by  the  whole  of  the  enemy. 

4  I  am  Prince  Morinaga  ! '  shouted  he.  '  Fate  is 
against  me,  though  I  am  in  the  right.  Sooner  or  later 
Heaven's  punishment  will  come  down  on  you.  Until 
then  my  curses  upon  you,  and  take  a  lesson  as  to  how  a 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

prince  can  die,  emulating  it,  if  you  dare,  when  your  time 
comes  ! ' 

With  this  Murakami  Yoshiteru  drew  his  short  sword 
across  his  abdomen,  and,  seizing  his  quivering  entrails,  he 
flung  them  into  the  midst  of  his  enemies,  his  dead  body 
falling  directly  afterwards. 

His  head  was  taken  to  the  Regent  in  Kioto  as  the 
head  of  Prince  Morinaga,  who  escaped  to  plot  in  the 



THE  Oki  Islands,  some  forty-five  miles  from  the  mainland 
of  Hoki  Province,  were  for  centuries  the  scene  of  strife, 
of  sorrow,  and  of  banishment ;  but  to-day  they  are  fairly 
prosperous  and  highly  peaceful.  Fish,  octopus,  and 
cuttlefish  form  the  main  exports.  They  are  a  weird,  wild, 
and  rocky  group,  difficult  of  access,  and  few  indeed  are 
the  Europeans  who  have  visited  them.  I  know  of  only 
two — the  late  Lafcadio  Hearn  and  Mr.  Anderson  (who 
was  there  to  collect  animals  for  the  Duke  of  Bedford).  I 
myself  sent  Oto,  my  Japanese  hunter,  who  was  glad  to 

In  the  Middle  Ages — that  is,  from  about  the  year 
1000  A.D. — there  was  much  fighting  over  the  islands  by 
various  chieftains,  and  many  persons  were  sent  thither  in 

In  the  year  1239  ^°j°  Yoshitoshi  defeated  the 
Emperor  Go  Toba  and  banished  him  to  Dogen  Island. 

Another  Hojo  chieftain  banished  another  Emperor,  Go 
Daigo,  to  Nishi-no-shima.  Oribe  Shima,  the  hero  of  our 
story,  was  probably  banished  by  this  same  Hojo  chieftain, 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

whose  name  is  given  to  me  as  Takatoki  (Hojo),  and  the 
date  of  the  story  must  be  about  1320  A.D. 

At  the  time  when  Hojo  Takatoki  reigned  over  the 
country  with  absolute  power,  there  was  a  samurai  whose 
name  was  Oribe  Shima.  By  some  misfortune  Oribe  (as 
we  shall  call  him)  had  offended  Hojo  Takatoki,  and 
had  consequently  found  himself  banished  to  one  of  the 
islands  of  the  Oki  group  which  was  then  known  as  Kami- 
shima  (Holy  Island).  So  the  relater  of  the  story  tells 
me  ;  but  I  doubt  his  geographical  statement,  and  think 
the  island  must  have  been  Nishi-no-shima  (Island  of  the 
West,  or  West  Island x). 

Oribe  had  a  beautiful  daughter,  aged  eighteen,  of 
whom  he  was  as  fond  as  she  was  of  him,  and  consequently 
the  banishment  and  separation  rendered  both  of  them 
doubly  miserable.  Her  name  was  Tokoyo,  O  Tokoyo 

Tokoyo,  left  at  her  old  home  in  Shima  Province,  Ise, 
wept  from  morn  till  eve,  and  sometimes  from  eve  till 
morn.  At  last,  unable  to  stand  the  separation  any  longer, 
she  resolved  to  risk  all  and  try  to  reach  her  father  or  die 
in  the  attempt  ;  for  she  was  brave,  as  are  most  girls  of 
Shima  Province,  where  the  women  have  much  to  do 
with  the  sea.  As  a  child  she  had  loved  to  dive  with  the 
women  whose  daily  duty  is  to  collect  awabi  and  pearl- 
oyster  shells,  running  with  them  the  risk  of  life  in  spite 
of  her  higher  birth  and  frailer  body.  She  knew  no  fear. 

Having  decided  to  join  her  father,  O  Tokoyo  sold 
what  property  she  could  dispose  of,  and  set  out  on  her 

1  Since  writing  this,  I  have  found  that  there  is  a  very  small  island,  called  Kamishima, 
between  the  two  main  islands  of  the  Oki  Archipelago,  south-west  of  the  eastern  island. 


O    TOKOYO    SEES    THE    GIRL    ABOUT    TO    BE    THROWN 

A  Story  of  Oki   Islands 

long  journey  to  the  far-off  province  of  Hoki,  which,  after 
many  weeks  she  reached,  striking  the  sea  at  a  place  called 
Akasaki,  whence  on  clear  days  the  Islands  of  Oki  can  be 
dimly  seen.  Immediately  she  set  to  and  tried  to  persuade 
the  fishermen  to  take  her  to  the  Islands  ;  but  nearly  all 
her  money  had  gone,  and,  moreover,  no  one  was  allowed 
to  land  at  the  Oki  Islands  in  those  days — much  less  to 
visit  those  who  had  been  banished  thence.  The  fishermen 
laughed  at  Tokoyo,  and  told  her  that  she  had  better  go 
home.  The  brave  girl  was  not  to  be  put  off.  She  bought 
what  stock  of  provisions  she  could  afford,  at  night 
went  down  to  the  beach,  and,  selecting  the  lightest  boat 
she  could  find,  pushed  it  with  difficulty  into  the  water, 
and  sculled  as  hard  as  her  tiny  arms  would  allow  her. 
Fortune  sent  a  strong  breeze,  and  the  current  also  was  in 
her  favour.  Next  evening,  more  dead  than  alive,  she 
found  her  efforts  crowned  with  success.  Her  boat  touched 
the  shore  of  a  rocky  bay. 

O  Tokoyo  sought  a  sheltered  spot,  and  lay  down  to 
sleep  for  the  night.  In  the  morning  she  awoke  much 
refreshed,  ate  the  remainder  of  her  provisions,  and  started 
to  make  inquiries  as  to  her  father's  whereabouts.  The 
first  person  she  met  was  a  fisherman.  '  No/  he  said  :  '  I 
have  never  heard  of  your  father,  and  if  you  take  my 
advice  you  will  not  ask  for  him  if  he  has  been  banished, 
for  it  may  lead  you  to  trouble  and  him  to  death  ! ' 

Poor  O  Tokoyo  wandered  from  one  place  to  another, 
subsisting  on  charity,  but  never  hearing  a  word  of  her 

One  evening  she  came  to  a  little  cape  of  rocks,  whereon 
stood  a  shrine.  After  bowing  before  Buddha  and  imploring 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

his  help  to  find  her  dear  father,  O  Tokoyo  lay  down, 
intending  to  pass  the  night  there,  for  it  was  a  peaceful 
and  holy  spot,  well  sheltered  from  the  winds,  which,  even 
in  summer,  as  it  was  now  (the  I3th  of  June),  blow  with 
some  violence  all  around  the  Oki  Islands. 

Tokoyo  had  slept  about  an  hour  when  she  heard,  in 
spite  of  the  dashing  of  waves  against  the  rocks,  a  curious 
sound,  the  clapping  of  hands  and  the  bitter  sobbing  of  a 
girl.  As  she  looked  up  in  the  bright  moonlight  she 
saw  a  beautiful  person  of  fifteen  years,  sobbing  bitterly. 
Beside  her  stood  a  man  who  seemed  to  be  the  shrine- 
keeper  or  priest.  He  was  clapping  his  hands  and 
mumbling  'Namu  Amida  Butsu's.'  Both  were  dressed 
in  white.  When  the  prayer  was  over,  the  priest  led  the 
girl  to  the  edge  of  the  rocks,  and  was  about  to  push 
her  over  into  the  sea,  when  O  Tokoyo  came  to  the 
rescue,  rushing  at  and  seizing  the  girl's  arm  just  in  time 
to  save  her.  The  old  priest  looked  surprised  at  the 
intervention,  but  was  in  no  way  angered  or  put  about, 
and  explained  as  follows  : — 

c  It  appears  from  your  intervention  that  you  are  a 
stranger  to  this  small  island.  Otherwise  you  would  know 
that  the  unpleasant  business  upon  which  you  find  me  is 
not  at  all  to  my  liking  or  to  the  liking  of  any  of  us. 
Unfortunately,  we  are  cursed  with  an  evil  god  in  this 
island,  whom  we  call  Yofune-Nushi.  He  lives  at  the 
bottom  of  the  sea,  and  demands,  once  a  year,  a  girl  just 
under  fifteen  years  of  age.  This  sacrificial  offering  has  to 
be  made  on  June  13,  Day  of  the  Dog,  between  eight  and 
nine  o'clock  in  the  evening.  If  our  villagers  neglect  this, 
Yofune-Nushi  becomes  angered,  and  causes  great  storms, 


A   Story  of  Oki  Islands 

Which  drown  many  of  our  fishermen.  By  sacrificing  one 
young  girl  annually  much  is  saved.  For  the  last  seven 
years  it  has  been  my  sad  duty  to  superintend  the  ceremony, 
and  it  is  that  which  you  have  now  interrupted/ 

O  Tokoyo  listened  to  the  end  of  the  priest's  explanation, 
and  then  said  : 

*  Holy  monk,  if  these  things  be  as  you  say,  it  seems 
that  there  is  sorrow  everywhere.  Let  this  young  girl  go, 
and  say  that  she  may  stop  her  weeping,  for  I  am  more 
sorrowful  than  she,  and  will  willingly  take  her  place  and 
offer  myself  to  Yofune-Nushi.  I  am  the  sorrowing 
daughter  of  Oribe  Shima,  a  samurai  of  high  rank,  who 
has  been  exiled  to  this  island.  It  is  in  search  of  my  dear 
father  that  I  have  come  here  ;  but  he  is  so  closely  guarded 
that  I  cannot  get  to  him,  or  even  find  out  exactly  where 
he  has  been  hidden.  My  heart  is  broken,  and  I  have 
nothing  more  for  which  to  wish  to  live,  and  am  therefore 
glad  to  save  this  girl.  Please  take  this  letter,  which  is 
addressed  to  my  father.  That  you  should  try  and  deliver 
it  to  him  is  all  I  ask.' 

Saying  which,  Tokoyo  took  the  white  robe  off  the 
younger  girl  and  put  it  on  herself.  She  then  knelt  before 
the  figure  of  Buddha,  and  prayed  for  strength  and 
courage  to  slay  the  evil  god,  Yofune-Nushi.  Then  she 
drew  a  small  and  beautiful  dagger,  which  had  belonged  to 
one  of  her  ancestors,  and,  placing  it  between  her  pearly 
teeth,  she  dived  into  the  roaring  sea  and  disappeared,  the 
priest  and  the  other  girl  looking  after  her  with  wonder 
and  admiration,  arid  the  girl  with  thankfulness. 

As  we  said  at  the  beginning  of  the  story,  Tokoyo  had 
been  brought  up  much  among  the  divers  of  her  own 

105  14 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

country  in  Shima  ;  she  was  a  perfect  swimmer,  and  knew 
moreover,  something  of  fencing  and  jujitsu,  as  did  mam 
girls  of  her  position  in  those  days. 

Tokoyo  swam  downwards  through  the  clear  water 
which  was  illuminated  by  bright  moonlight.  Down 
down  she  swam,  passing  silvery  fish,  until  she  reached  thi 
bottom,  and  there  she  found  herself  opposite  a  submarim 
cave  resplendent  with  the  phosphorescent  lights  issuing 
from  awabi  shells  and  the  pearls  that  glittered  through  thei: 
openings.  As  Tokoyo  looked  she  seemed  to  see  ; 
man  seated  in  the  cave.  Fearing  nothing,  willing  to  figh 
and  die,  she  approached,  holding  her  dagger  ready  t< 
strike.  Tokoyo  took  him  for  Yofune-Nushi,  the  evi 
god  of  whom  the  priest  had  spoken.  The  god  made  nc 
sign  of  life,  however,  and  Tokoyo  saw  that  it  was  no  god 
but  only  a  wooden  statue  of  Hojo  Takatoki,  the  man  wh< 
had  exiled  her  father.  At  first  she  was  angry  and  inclinec 
to  wreak  her  vengeance  on  the  statue  ;  but,  after  all 
what  would  be  the  use  of  that  ?  Better  do  good  thai 
evil.  She  would  rescue  the  thing.  Perhaps  it  had  beer 
made  by  some  person  who,  like  her  father,  had  sufFerec 
at  the  hands  of  Hojo  Takatoki.  Was  rescue  possible 
Indeed  it  was  more  :  it  was  probable.  So  perceiving 
Tokoyo  undid  one  of  her  girdles  and  wound  it  about  th< 
statue,  which  she  took  out  of  the  cave.  True,  it  wai 
waterlogged  and  heavy  ;  but  things  are  lighter  in  th( 
water  than  they  are  out,  and  Tokoyo  feared  no  trouble  ir 
bringing  it  to  the  surface — she  was  about  to  tie  it  on  hei 
back.  However,  the  unexpected  happened. 

She  beheld,  coming  slowly  out  of  the  depths  of  the 
cavern,    a    horrible    thing,    a    luminous    phosphorescem 

1 06 


A  Story  of  Oki   Islands 

creature  of  the  shape  of  a  snake,  but  with  legs  and  small 
scales  on  its  back  and  sides.  The  thing  was  twenty-seven 
or  eight  shaku  (about  twenty-six  feet)  in  length.  The 
eyes  were  fiery. 

Tokoyo  gripped  her  dagger  with  renewed  determination, 
feeling  sure  that  this  was  the  evil  god,  the  Yofune-Nushi 
that  required  annually  a  girl  to  be  cast  to  him.  No  doubt 
the  Yofun6-Nushi  took  her  for  the  girl  that  was  his  due. 
Well,  she  would  show  him  who  she  was,  and  kill  him  if 
she  could,  and  so  save  the  necessity  of  further  annual  con- 
tributions of  a  virgin  from  this  poor  island's  few. 

Slowly  the  monster  came  on,  and  Tokoyo  braced 
herself  for  the  combat.  When  the  creature  was  within 
six  feet  of  her,  she  moved  sideways  and  struck  out  his 
right  eye.  This  so  disconcerted  the  evil  god  that  he 
turned  and  tried  to  re-enter  the  cavern  ;  but  Tokoyo  was 
too  clever  for  him.  Blinded  by  the  loss  of  his  right  eye, 
as  also  by  the  blood  which  flooded  into  his  left,  the 
monster  was  slow  in  his  movements,  and  thus  the  brave 
and  agile  Tokoyo  was  able  to  do  with  him  much  as  she 
liked.  She  got  to  the  left  side  of  him,  where  she  was  able 
to  stab  him  in  the  heart,  and,  knowing  that  he  could  not 
long  survive  the  blow,  she  headed  him  off  so  as  to 
prevent  his  gaining  too  far  an  entrance  into  the  cave, 
where  in  the  darkness  she  might  find  herself  at  a  dis- 
advantage. Yofune-Nushi,  however,  was  unable  to  see 
his  way  back  to  the  depths  of  his  cavern,  and  after  two 
or  three  heavy  gasps  died,  not  far  from  the  entrance. 

Tokoyo  was  pleased  at  her  success.  She  felt  that  she 
had  slain  the  god  that  cost  the  life  of  a  girl  a-year  to  the 
people  of  the  island  to  which  she  had  come  in  search  of 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

her  father.  She  perceived  that  she  must  take  it  and 
the  wooden  statue  to  the  surface,  which,  after  several 
attempts,  she  managed  to  do, — having  been  in  the  sea 
for  nearly  half-an-hour. 

In  the  meantime  the  priest  and  the  little  girl  had 
continued  to  gaze  into  the  water  where  Tokoyo  had  dis- 
appeared, marvelling  at  her  bravery,  the  priest  praying 
for  her  soul,  and  the  girl  thanking  the  gods.  Imagine 
their  surprise  when  suddenly  they  noticed  a  struggling 
body  rise  to  the  surface  in  a  somewhat  awkward  manner  ! 
They  could  not  make  it  out  at  all,  until  at  last  the  little 
girl  cried,  '  Why,  holy  father,  it  is  the  girl  who  took 
my  place  and  dived  into  the  sea  !  I  recognise  my  white 
clothes.  But  she  seems  to  have  a  man  and  a  huge  fish 
with  her/ 

The  priest  had  by  this  time  realised  that  it  was 
Tokoyo  who  had  come  to  the  surface,  and  he  rendered 
all  the  help  he  could.  He  dashed  down  the  rocks,  and 
pulled  her  half-insensible  form  ashore.  He  cast  his  girdle 
round  the  monster,  and  put  the  carved  image  of  Hojo 
Takatoki  on  a  rock  beyond  reach  of  the  waves. 

Soon  assistance  came,  and  all  were  carefully  removed 
to  a  safe  place  in  the  village.  Tokoyo  was  the  heroine 
of  the  hour.  The  priest  reported  the  whole  thing  to 
Tameyoshi,  the  lord  who  ruled  the  island  at  the  time, 
and  he  in  his  turn  reported  the  matter  to  the  Lord  Hojo 
Takatoki,  who  ruled  the  whole  Province  of  Hoki,  which 
included  the  Islands  of  Oki. 

Takatoki  was  suffering  from  some  peculiar  disease 
quite  unknown  to  the  medical  experts  of  the  day.  The 
recovery  of  the  wooden  statue  representing  himself  made 


A  Story   of  Oki  Islands 

it  clear  that  he  was  labouring  under  the  curse  of  some 
one  to  whom  he  had  behaved  unjustly — some  one  who 
had  carved  his  figure,  cursed  it,  and  sunk  it  in  the  sea. 
Now  that  it  had  been  brought  to  the  surface,  he  felt 
that  the  curse  was  over,  that  he  would  get  better ;  and 
he  did.  On  hearing  that  the  heroine  of  the  story  was 
the 'daughter  of  his  old  enemy  Oribe  Shima,  who  was 
confined  in  prison,  he  ordered  his  immediate  release,  and 
great  were  the  rejoicings  thereat. 

The  curse  on  the  image  of  Hojo  Takatoki  had  brought 
with  it  the  evil  god,  Yofune-Nushi,  who  demanded  a 
virgin  a-year  as  contribution.  Yofune-Nushi  had  now 
been  slain,  and  the  islanders  feared  no  further  trouble 
from  storms.  Oribe  Shima  and  his  brave  daughter 
O  Tokoyo  returned  to  their  own  country  in  Shima 
Province,  where  the  people  hailed  them  with  delight ; 
and  their  popularity  soon  re-established  their  impoverished 
estates,  on  which  men  were  willing  to  work  for  nothing. 

In  the  island  of  Kamijima  (Holy  Island)  in  the  Oki 
Archipelago  peace  reigned.  No  more  virgins  were 
offered  on  June  13  to  the  evil  god,  Yofune-Nushi, 
whose  body  was  buried  on  the  Cape  at  the  shrine  where 
our  story  begins.  Another  small  shrine  was  built  to 
commemorate  the  event.  It  was  called  the  Tomb  of 
the  Sea  Serpent. 

The  wooden  statue  of  Hojo  Takatoki,  after  much 
travelling,  found  a  resting  -  place  at  Honsoji,  in 



DOWN  in  the  Province  of  Higo  are  a  group  of  large 
islands,  framing  with  the  mainland  veritable  little  inland 
seas,  deep  bays,  and  narrow  channels.  The  whole  of 
this  is  called  Amakusa.  There  are  a  village  called 
Amakusa  mura,  a  sea  known  as  Amakusa  umi,  an  island 
known  as  Amakusa  shima,  and  the  Cape  known  as  Joken 
Zaki,  which  is  the  most  prominent  feature  of  them  all, 
projecting  into  the  Amakusa  sea. 

History  relates  that  in  the  year  1577  the  Daimio 
of  the  province  issued  an  order  that  every  one  under 
him  was  to  become  a  Christian  or  be  banished. 

During  the  next  century  this  decree  was  reversed  ; 
only,  it  was  ordered  that  the  Christians  should  be 
executed.  Tens  of  thousands  of  Christianised  heads 
were  collected  and  sent  for  burial  to  Nagasaki,  Shimabara 
and  Amakusa. 

This — repeated   from  Murray — has  not   much   to   do 

1  The  title  to  this  old  and  hitherto  untold  legend  is  not  much  less  curious  than  the 
story  itself,  which  was  told  to  me  by  a  man  called  Fukuga,  who  journeys  much  up  and 
down  the  southern  coast  in  search  of  pearls  and  coral. 

I  IO 



Cape  of  the  Woman's  Sword 

with  my  story.  After  all,  it  is  possible  that  at  the 
time  the  Amakusa  people  became  Christian  the  sword 
in  question,  being  in  some  temple,  was  with  the  gods 
cast  into  the  sea,  and  recovered  later  by  a  coral  or  pearl 
diver  in  the  Bunroku  period,  which  lasted  from  1592 
to  1596.  A  history  would  naturally  spring  from  a  sword 
so  recovered.  But  to  the  story. 

The  Cape  of  Joken  Zaki  (the  Woman's  Sword  Cape) 
was  not  always  so  called.  In  former  years,  before  the 
Bunroku  period,  it  had  been  called  Fudozaki  (Fudo  is 
the  God  of  Fierceness,  always  represented  as  surrounded 
by  fire  and  holding  a  sword)  or  Fudo's  Cape.  The  reason 
of  the  change  of  names  was  this. 

The  inhabitants  of  Amakusa  lived  almost  entirely  on 
what  they  got  out  of  the  sea,  so  that  when  it  came  to 
pass  that  for  two  years  of  the  Bunroku  period  no  fish 
came  into  their  seas  or  bay  and  they  were  sorely  dis- 
tressed, many  actually  starved,  and  their  country  was  in 
a  state  of  desolation.  Their  largest  and  longest  nets  were 
shot  and  hauled  in  vain.  Not  a  single  fish  so  large  as 
a  sardine  could  they  catch.  At  last  things  got  so  bad 
that  they  could  not  even  see  fish  schooling  outside  their 
bay.  Peculiar  rumbling  sounds  were  occasionally  heard 
coming  from  under  the  sea  off  Cape  Fudo  ;  but  of  these 
they  thought  little,  being  Japanese  and  used  to  earthquakes. 

All  the  people  knew  was  that  the  fish  had  completely 
gone — where  they  could  not  tell,  or  why,  until  one  day  an 
old  and  much-respected  fisherman  said  : 

'  I  fear,  my  friends,  that  the  noise  we  so  often  hear  off 
Cape  Fudo  has  nothing  to  do  with  earthquakes,  but  that 
the  God  of  the  Sea  has  been  displeased.' 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

One  evening  a  few  days  after  this  a  sailing  junk,  the 
Tsukushi-maru,  owned  by  one  Tarada,  who  commanded 
her,  anchored  for  the  night  to  the  lee  of  Fudozaki. 

After  having  stowed  their  sails  and  made  everything 
snug,  the  crew  pulled  their  beds  up  from  below  (for  the 
weather  was  hot)  and  rolled  them  out  on  deck.  Towards 
the  middle  of  the  night  the  captain  was  awakened  by  a 
peculiar  rumbling  sound  seeming  to  come  from  the  bottom 
of  the  sea.  Apparently  it  came  from  the  direction  in 
which  their  anchor  lay  ;  the  rope  which  held  it  trembled 
visibly.  Tarada  said  the  sound  reminded  him  of  the 
roaring  of  the  falling  tide  in  the  Naruto  Channel  between 
Awa  and  Awaji  Island.  Suddenly  he  saw  towards  the 
bows  of  the  junk  a  beautiful  maid  clothed  in  the  finest 
of  white  silks  (he  thought).  She  seemed,  however,  hardly 
real,  being  surrounded  by  a  glittering  haze. 

Tarada  was  not  a  coward  ;  nevertheless,  he  aroused  his 
men,  for  he  did  not  quite  like  this.  As  soon  as  he  had 
shaken  the  men  to  their  senses,  he  moved  towards  the 
figure,  which,  when  but  ten  or  twelve  feet  away,  addressed 
him  in  the  most  melodious  of  voices,  thus  : 

'  Ah  !  could  I  but  be  back  in  the  world  !  That  is  my 
only  wish/ 

Tarada,  astonished  and  affrighted,  fell  on  his  knees, 
and  was  about  to  pray,  when  a  sound  of  roaring  waters 
was  heard  again,  and  the  white-clad  maiden  disappeared 
into  the  sea. 

Next  morning  Tarada  went  on  shore  to  ask  the  people 
of  Amakusa  if  they  had  ever  heard  of  such  a  thing  before, 
and  to  tell  them  of  his  experiences. 

'  No,'  said  the  village  elder.     '  Two  years  ago  we  never 


Cape  of  the  Woman's  Sword 

heard  the  noises  which  we  hear  now  off  Fudo  Cape  almost 
daily,  and  we  had  much  fish  here  before  then  ;  but  we 
have  even  now  never  seen  the  figure  of  the  girl  whom 
(you  say)  you  saw  last  night.  Surely  this  must  be  the 
ghost  of  some  poor  girl  that  has  been  drowned,  and  the 
noise  we  hear  must  be  made  by  the  God  of  the  Sea,  who 
is  in  anger  that  her  bones  and  body  are  not  taken  out  of 
this  bay,  where  the  fish  so  much  liked  to  come  before 
her  body  fouled  the  bottom.' 

A  consultation  was  held  by  the  fishermen.  They 
concluded  that  the  village  elder  was  right — that  some  one 
must  have  been  drowned  in  the  bay,  and  that  the  body 
was  polluting  the  bottom.  It  was  her  ghost  that  had 
appeared  on  Tarada's  ship,  and  the  noise  was  naturally 
caused  by  the  angry  God  of  the  Sea,  offended  that  his 
fish  were  prevented  from  entering  the  bay  by  its  un- 

What  was  to  be  done  was  quite  clear.  Some  one  must 
dive  to  the  bottom  in  spite  of  the  depth  of  water,  and 
bring  the  body  or  bones  to  the  surface.  It  was  a 
dangerous  job,  and  not  a  pleasant  one  either, — the  bring- 
ing up  of  a  corpse  that  had  lain  at  the  bottom  for  well 
over  a  year. 

As  no  one  volunteered  for  the  dive,  the  villagers 
suggested  a  man  who  was  a  great  swimmer — a  man 
who  had  all  his  life  been  dumb  and  consequently  was  a 
person  of  no  value,  as  no  one  would  marry  him  and  no 
one  cared  for  him.  His  name  was  Sankichi  or  (as  they 
called  him)  Oshi-no-Sankichi,  Dumb  Sankichi.  He  was 
twenty-six  years  of  age  ;  he  had  always  been  honest ;  he 
was  very  religious,  attending  at  the  temples  and  shrines 

H3  15 

Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

constantly  ;  but  he  kept  to  himself,  as  his  infirmity  did 
not  appeal  to  the  community.  As  soon  as  this  poor 
fellow  heard  that  in  the  opinion  of  most  of  them  there 
was  a  dead  body  at  the  bottom  of  the  bay  which  had  to 
be  brought  to  the  surface,  he  came  forward  and  made 
signs  that  he  would  do  the  work  or  die  in  the  attempt. 
What  was  his  poor  life  worth  in  comparison  with  the 
hundreds  of  fishermen  who  lived  about  the  bay,  their 
lives  depending  upon  the  presence  of  fish  ?  The  fishermen 
consulted  among  themselves,  and  agreed  that  they  would 
let  Oshi-no-Sankichi  make  the  attempt  on  the  morrow  ; 
and  until  that  time  he  was  the  popular  hero. 

Next  day,  when  the  tide  was  low,  all  the  villagers 
assembled  on  the  beach  to  give  Dumb  Sankichi  a  parting 
cheer.  He  was  rowed  out  to  Tarada's  junk,  and,  after 
bidding  farewell  to  his  few  relations,  dived  into  the  sea 
off  her  bows. 

Sankichi  swam  until  he  reached  the  bottom,  passing 
through  hot  and  cold  currents  the  whole  way.  Hastily  he 
looked,  and  swam  about ;  but  no  corpse  or  bones  did  he 
come  across.  At  last  he  came  to  a  projecting  rock,  and 
on  the  top  of  that  he  espied  something  like  a  sword 
wrapped  in  old  brocade.  On  grasping  it  he  felt  that  it 
really  was  a  sword.  On  his  untying  the  string  and  draw- 
ing the  blade,  it  proved  to  be  one  of  dazzling  brightness, 
with  not  a  speck  of  rust. 

'  It  is  said,'  thought  Sankichi,  '  that  Japan  is  the 
country  of  the  sword,  in  which  its  spirit  dwells.  It  must 
be  the  Goddess  of  the  Sword  that  makes  the  roaring 
sound  which  frightens  away  the  fishes — when  she  comes 
to  the  surface.1 


Cape  of  the  Woman's  Sword 

Feeling  that  he  had  secured  a  rare  treasure,  Sankichi 
lost  no  time  in  returning  to  the  surface.  He  was 
promptly  hauled  on  board  the  Tsukushi-maru  amid  the 
cheers  of  the  villagers  and  his  relations.  So  long  had  he 
been  under  water,  and  so  benumbed  was  his  body,  he 
promptly  fainted.  Fires  were  lit,  and  his  body  was 
rubbed  until  he  came  to,  and  gave  by  signs  an  account 
of  his  dive.  The  head  official  of  the  neighbourhood, 
Naruse  Tsushimanokami,  examined  the  sword  ;  but,  in 
spite  of  its  beauty  and  excellence,  no  name  could  be 
found  on  the  blade,  and  the  official  expressed  it  as  his 
opinion  that  the  sword  was  a  holy  treasure.  He  re- 
commended the  erection  of  a  shrine  dedicated  to  Fudo, 
wherein  the  sword  should  be  kept  in  order  to  guard  the 
village  against  further  trouble.  Money  was  collected. 
The  shrine  was  built.  Oshi-no-Sankichi  was  made  the 
caretaker,  and  lived  a  long  and  happy  life. 

The  fish  returned  to  the  bay,  for  the  spirit  of  the 
sword  was  no  longer  dissatisfied  by  being  at  the  bottom 
of  the  sea. 


DURING  the  reign  of  the  Emperor  Shirakawa,  which  was 
between  the  years  1073  an<^  Jo86  A.D.,  there  lived  a 
general  whose  name  was  Yogodayu.  He  had  built  a  fort 
for  himself  and  his  small  army  in  the  wilds  of  Yamato, 
not  far  from  the  Mountain  of  Kasagi,  where,  about  the 
year  1380,  the  unfortunate  Emperor  Go-Daigo  camped 
among  the  same  rocky  fastnesses  and  eventually  perished. 
Even  to-day,  as  one  winds  in  and  out  of  the  narrow  gorge 
where  the  railway  passes  Kasagi,  in  the  Kizugawa  valley, 
one  is  struck  by  the  extreme  wildness  of  the  scenery. 
Here  it  was  that  Yogodayu  built  his  fort.  Some  months 
later  he  was  attacked  by  his  wife's  brother,  whom  he  de- 
tested, and  got  badly  beaten,  so  much  so  as  to  have  only 
some  twenty  warriors  left  alive.  With  these  he  escaped 
to  Kasagi  Mountain,  and  hid  himself  for  two  days  in  a 
cave,  in  fear  and  trembling  that  he  should  be  discovered. 
On  the  third  day  Yogodayu,  finding  that  he  was  not 
pursued,  ventured  forth  to  admire  the  scenery.  While 
thus  occupied  he  saw  a  bee  in  a  large  spider's- web 
struggling  in  vain  to  free  itself.  Struggle  as  it  might,  it 



How  Yogodayu  won  a  Battle 

only  made  things  worse.  Yogodayu,  feeling  sympathy  for 
the  bee,  relieved  it  from  its  captivity  and  let  it  fly,  saying  : 

'  Ah,  little  bee  !  fly  back  to  liberty  and  to  your  hive. 
I  wish  I  could  do  the  same.  It  is  a  pleasure  to  relieve 
those  in  captivity,  even  though  one  is  at  the  mercy  of 
one's  enemy,  as  I  am/ 

That  night  Yogodayu  dreamed  that  a  man  dressed  in 
black  and  yellow  saluted  him,  and  said  :  '  Sir,  I  have 
come  to  tell  you  that  it  is  my  desire  to  help  you  and 
fulfil  the  resolve  which  I  came  to  this  morning/ 

'  And  who,  pray,  may  you  be  ? '  answered  Yogodayu  in 
his  dream. 

'  I  am  the  bee  whom  you  released  from  the  spider's 
web,  and  deeply  grateful ;  so  much  so  that  I  have  thought 
out  a  plan  by  which  you  can  defeat  your  enemy  and  regain 
your  lost  fortune.' 

c  How  is  it  possible  for  me  to  defeat  my  enemy  with 
only  a  remnant  of  my  force- — some  twenty  warriors  ? ' 
quoth  Yogodayu. 

*  It  is  very  simple,'  was  the  answer.  '  Follow  exactly 
the  instructions  I  give  you,  and  you  shall  see.' 

'  But  I  have  no  walls  behind  which  the  few  friends 
I  have  can  make  a  show  of  fighting.  It  is  impossible  for 
me  to  attack  my  enemy.' 

The  bee  smiled  and  said  :  '  You  shall  not  want  walls. 
You  shall  be  attacked,  and,  with  the  help  of  some  ten 
millions  of  the  bees  of  Yamato,  you  shall  put  your  enemies 
to  rout.  Listen  !  When  you  have  fixed  upon  the  day 
and  the  place  where  you  will  fight  your  brother-in-law, 
build  a  wooden  house,  place  in  it  as  many  hundred  empty 
jars  and  receptacles  as  your  men  can  find,  so  that  we  bees 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

may  come  and  hide  in  them.  You  must  live  in  the  house 
with  your  twenty  and  odd  men,  and  manage  to  let  your 
enemy  know  where  you  are,  and  that  you  are  collecting  a 
force  to  attack  him.  It  will  then  not  be  long  before  he 
attacks  you.  When  he  does,  we  bees  will  come  out  in  our 
millions  and  help  you.  You  are  sure  of  victory.  Fear 
nothing  ;  but  do  as  I  say/ 

As  Yogodayu  was  about  to  speak  the  bee  disappeared, 
and  he  awoke  from  his  dream.  Deeply  impressed,  he  re- 
lated it  to  his  men.  It  was  arranged  that  these  should 
split  themselves  up  into  couples  and  return  to  their  native 
province,  collect  what  men  they  could,  and  be  back  at 
the  cave  some  thirty  days  later.  Yogodayu  went  off  alone, 
Thirty  days  later  they  all  met  again  at  the  cave  or 
Kasagi  yama.  Altogether  they  were  now  eighty  men, 
Quietly  they  set  to,  and,  following  the  bee's  advice,  built 
a  wooden  house  at  the  entrance  of  the  valley,  and  pul 
therein  some  two  thousand  jars.  No  sooner  had  this  beer 
done  than  the  bees  arrived  in  countless  thousands,  untl 
there  must  have  been  well-nigh  two  millions.  One  ol 
Yogodayu's  men  was  sent  to  propagate  reports  that  he 
was  strongly  fortifying  himself. 

Two  days  later  his  brother-in-law  came  to  attack 

Yogodayu  began  fighting  carelessly,  so  as  to  draw  th< 
enemy,  who,  seeing  this,  came  on  in  full  force  and  ir 
a  most  unguarded  way.  As  soon  as  the  whole  of  th( 
enemy's  force  lay  revealed,  the  bees  swarmed  out  of  theii 
hiding-places,  and  flew  among  them  in  such  blinding 
swarms — stinging  as  they  went  here,  there,  and  every  when 
— that  there  was  no  standing  against  them.  The  enemy 


How  Yogodayu  won  a  Battle 

without  a  single  exception,  turned  and  ran.  They  were 
pursued  by  the  bees,  and  by  Yogodayu's  eighty  men,  who 
simply  cut  them  down  as  they  liked,  for  each  of  the  enemy 
had  fully  3000  bees  attending  him.  Many  lost  their 
minds  and  went  mad. 

Thus,  after  completely  defeating  his  old  enemy, 
Yogodayu  became  repossessed  of  his  fortress  ;  and,  to  com- 
memorate the  event,  he  built  a  small  temple  at  the  back 
of  Kasagi  yama.  All  the  dead  bees  that  could  be  found 
were  collected  and  buried  there,  and  once  a-year  during 
the  rest  of  his  life  Yogodayu  used  to  go  and  worship 



MANY  years  ago  the  Lord  of  Kishu,  head  of  one  of  the 
three  families  of  the  Tokugawas,  ordered  his  people  tc 
hold  a  hunting-party  on  Tomagashima  (Toma  Island) 
In  those  days  such  hunting-parties  were  often  ordered, 
more  for  the  purpose  of  improving  drill  and  organisation 
than  for  sport.  It  brought  men  together,  and  taughl 
others  to  handle  them  both  on  land  and  at  sea.  It  made 
men  recognise  their  commanders  and  superiors,  and  il 
disclosed  what  men  were  worthy  of  being  made  such, 
Hunting-parties  of  this  kind  were  considered  as  military 

On  this  particular  hunt  or  manoeuvre,  the  Lord  oi 
Kishu  was  to  make  a  kind  of  descent  by  water  on  the 
island  of  Toma,  and  kill  all  the  game  that  his  landing- 
party  could  beat  up. 

Boats  and  junks  were  armed  as  if  for  war,  and  sc 
were  the  men — except  that  they  wore  no  armour. 

The  day  for  the  entertainment  was  fine.  Some  sixty 
boats  put  to  sea,  and  landed  successfully  about  eight 
hundred  men  on  Toma  Island  ;  and  busy  indeed  were 
they  chasing  boar  and  deer  the  whole  morning. 



The  Isolated  or  Desolated  Island 

Towards  afternoon,  however,  a  storm  of  great  violence 
came  on  and  completely  stopped  the  sport.  The  men 
were  ordered  to  return  to  the  shore  and  regain  their  boats 
before  these  should  be  smashed  on  the  beach. 

On  embarking  they  put  out  to  sea  with  the  intention 
of  gaining  the  mainland.  On  shore  trees  were  being 
uprooted,  columns  of  sand  flew  high  in  the  air,  and  the 
gale  was  indeed  terrific  ;  if  on  shore  it  was  as  bad  as  this, 
it  must  be  much  worse  at  sea.  The  Lord  of  Kishu's 
boats  and  junks  were  tossed  about  as  if  they  were 
floating  leaves. 

One  of  the  party  was  a  notedly  brave  man,  Makino 
Heinei,  who  had  been  nicknamed  '  Ino  shishi '  (Wild 
Boar)  on  account  of  his  reckless  bravery.  Seeing  that 
neither  junks  nor  boats  were  making  headway  against  the 
storm,  he  pushed  the  small  boat  off  the  junk,  jumped 
into  it  alone,  took  the  oars,  laughed  at  every  one,  and 
cried  :  '  See  here  !  You  all  seem  to  be  too  frightened  to 
make  headway.  Look  at  what  I  do  and  follow  me.  I 
am  not  afraid  of  the  waves,  and  none  of  you  should  be 
if  you  are  to  serve  our  Lord  of  Kishu  faithfully.' 

With  that  Makino  Heinei  shot  out  into  the  wild 
sea,  and  by  extraordinary  exertion  managed  to  get  some 
three  hundred  yards  ahead  of  the  rest  of  the  fleet.  Then 
the  gale  increased  to  such  violence  that  he  was  incapable 
of  doing  anything.  For  fear  of  being  blown  out  of  the 
boat,  he  was  obliged  to  hold  tight  to  the  mast  and  other- 
wise abandon  his  fate  to  good  fortune.  At  times  even 
the  heart  of  the  Wild  Boar  quailed.  Often  his  boat  was 
lifted  clean  out  of  the  water  by  the  wind  ;  waves  towered 
over  him  ;  he  closed  his  eyes  and  awaited  his  fate. 

121  16 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

Finally,  one  squall  more  powerful  than  the  rest  blew  his 
boat  out  of  the  water,  and  it  was  seen  from  the  other 
boats  (which  lay  at  anchor)  to  disappear  into  the  horizon. 
Heinei  clung  to  the  boat  tightly.  When  the  mast  blew 
away  he  held  on  to  the  ribs.  He  prayed  hard  and 
earnestly.  Some  eight  hours  after  the  storm  began, 
Heinei  found  the  boat  in  comparatively  smooth  water. 
She  was  flooded,  and  she  was  a  wreck  ;  but  still  she 
floated,  and  that  was  all  he  cared  for  at  the  moment. 
Moreover,  Heinei  felt  encouraged,  because  between  two 
dark  clouds  he  could  see  an  opening  and  some  stars, 
though  at  present  it  was  absolutely  dark  and  the  driving 
rain  had  not  ceased.  Suddenly,  when  Heinei  was 
wondering  how  far  he  had  been  blown  from  shore  or 
from  his  friends,  crack  ! — he  felt  his  boat  plump  into  a 
rock.  The  shock  was  so  violent  (for  the  boat  was  still 
being  driven  fast  by  the  gale)  that  our  hero  lost  his 
balance  and  was  thrown  fully  ten  feet  away.  Falling  on 
soft  stuff,  Heinei  thought  he  was  in  the  sea  ;  but  his 
hands  suddenly  realised  that  it  was  soft  wet  sand. 
Delighted  at  this  discovery,  he  looked  at  the  clouds  and 
the  sky,  and  came  to  the  conclusion  that  in  another  hour 
it  would  be  daylight.  In  the  meantime  he  thanked  the 
gods  for  his  deliverance,  and  prayed  for  his  friends  and 
for  his  lord  and  master. 

As  morning  broke  Heinei  arose  stiff,  weary,  and 
hungry.  Before  the  sun  appeared  he  realised  that  he  was 
on  an  island.  No  other  land  was  in  sight,  and  it  puzzled 
him  sorely  to  guess  where  he  could  be,  for  from  all  the 
Kishu  islands  the  mainland  could  be  easily  seen. 

'  Oh,  here  is  a  new  tree  !  I  have  never  seen  that  in 


The  Isolated  or  Desolated  Island 

Kishu,'  said  he.     '  And  this  flower — that  also  is  new — 
while  here  is  a  butterfly  more  brilliant  than  any  I  know/ 

So  saying  and  thinking,  Heinei  began  looking  about 
for  food,  and,  being  a  Japanese,  easily  satisfied  his  appetite 
with  the  shellfish  which  were  abundantly  strewn  everywhere 
after  the  storm. 

The  island  on  which  Heinei  had  been  cast  was  fair  in 
size — some  two  miles  across  and  ten  in  circumference. 
There  was  one  small  hill  in  the  middle,  which  Heinei 
resolved  to  ascend,  to  see  if  he  could  discover  Kishu  from 
the  top  of  it.  Accordingly  he  started.  The  undergrowth 
of  bush  was  so  great  that  Heinei  made  a  detour  to 
another  bay.  The  trees  were  quite  different  from  any  he 
had  ever  seen  before,  and  there  were  many  kinds  of  palms. 
At  last  he  found  to  his  delight  a  well-worn  path  leading 
up  the  mountain.  He  took  it ;  but  when  he  came  to  a 
damp  place  in  the  way  he  was  in  no  whit  reassured,  for 
there  he  saw  footmarks  which  could  have  been  made  by 
no  one  who  was  not  a  giant — they  were  fully  eighteen 
inches  in  length.  A  warrior  belonging  to  Kishu  must 
fear  nothing,  thought  Heinei,  and,  arming  himself  with 
a  stout  stick,  he  proceeded.  Near  the  top  he  found  the 
opening  to  a  somewhat  large  cave,  and,  nothing  daunted, 
began  to  enter,  prepared  to  meet  anything.  What  was 
his  surprise  when  an  enormous  man,  fully  eight  feet  in 
height,  appeared  before  him,  not  more  than  ten  feet  from 
the  entrance  !  He  was  a  hideous,  wild-looking  creature, 
nearly  black,  with  long  unkempt  hair,  flashing  angry 
eyes,  and  a  mouth  that  stretched  from  ear  to  ear,  showing 
two  glittering  rows  of  teeth  ;  and  he  wore  no  clothes 
except  the  skin  of  a  wild-cat  tied  round  his  loins. 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

As  soon  as  he  saw  Heinei  he  came  to  a  standstill,  and 
said,  in  Japanese,  *  Who  are  you  ?  how  have  you  got  here  ? 
and  what  have  you  come  for  ? ' 

Makino  Heinei  answered  these  questions  as  fully  as 
he  thought  necessary  by  telling  his  name  and  adding,  '  I 
am  a  retainer  of  the  Lord  of  Kishu,  and  was  blown  away 
by  the  storm  after  we  had  been  hunting  and  holding 
manoeuvres  on  Toma  Island.' 

4  And  where  are  these  places  you  speak  of?  Re- 
member that  this  island  is  unknown  to  the  world  and  has 
been  for  thousands  of  years.  I  am  its  sole  occupant,  and 
wish  to  remain  so.  No  matter  how  I  came.  I  am  here 
My  name  is  Tomaru,  and  my  father  was  Yamaguch: 
Shoun,  who  died,  with  his  master  Toyotomi  Hidetsugu, 
on  Koyasan  Mountain  in  1563.  Both  died  by  their  owr 
hands  ;  and  I  got  here,  no  matter  how,  and  here  I  intenc 
to  remain  undisturbed.  I  heard  of  your  Lord  of  Kishi 
and  of  the  Tokugawa  family  before  I  left  Japan,  and  foi 
that  reason  I  will  help  you  by  giving  you  my  old  boat 
in  which  I  arrived.  Come  to  the  beach.  I  will  send  yoi 
off  in  the  right  direction,  and  if  you  continue  sailing 
north-west  you  shall  in  time  reach  Kishu.  But  it  is  a  lon£ 
way  off — a  very  long  way/ 

With  that  they  walked  down  to  the  beach. 

'  See/  said  Tomaru  :  '  the  boat  is  well-nigh  rotten 
for  it  is  many  years  since  she  was  put  here  ;  but  with  lucl- 
you  may  reach  Kishu.  Stay — you  must  have  som< 
provision.  I  can  give  only  dry  fish  and  fruits  ;  but  t( 
these  you  are  welcome.  And  I  must  give  you  a  presen 
for  your  master,  the  Lord  of  Kishu.  It  is  a  kind  o 
seaweed.  You  shall  have  some  for  yourself  also.  It  i 


The  Isolated  or  Desolated  Island 

my  great  discovery  on  this  island.  No  matter  how  bad 
a  sword-cut  you  may  get,  it  will  stop  the  blood  flowing 
and  cure  at  once.  Now,  jump  into  the  boat  and  row 
away.  I  like  to  be  alone.  You  may  speak  of  your 
adventure ;  but  you  are  not  to  mention  my  name. 
Farewell !  ' 

Heinei  could  only  do  as  he  was  bid.  Consequently, 
he  made  off.  Rowing  night  and  day  and  aided  by 
favourable  currents,  he  found  himself  off  the  coast  of 
Kishu  on  the  third  day  after  leaving  the  island.  The 
people  were  much  astonished  to  see  him  alive,  and  the 
Lord  of  Kishu  rejoiced,  especially  at  the  sword-cut-healing 
seaweed,  which  he  had  planted  in  the  sea  at  a  part  of  the 
coast  which  he  renamed  and  called  Nagusa-gori  (District 
of  the  famous  Seaweed). 

Later  Makino  Heinei  sailed  again  by  permission  of 
his  Lord  to  get  more  seaweed.  The  island  was  found  ; 
but  the  giant  had  disappeared. 

NOTE. — Mujinto  Island,  in  the  Pacific,  is  the  group  called 
Bonin  Islands  by  Europeans. 




MANY  years  ago,  when  I  was  a  boy,  there  was  a  song 
about  a  Chinaman.     It  began  : 

In  China  once  there  lived  a  man, 

And  his  name  was  Ding-dong-dang. 

His  legs  were  long,  and  his  feet  were  small, 

And  this  Chinese  man  couldn't  walk  at  all. 

Chorus  : 

Chi-chi-Maree,  Chi-chi-Marah, 
Ding-dong,  ding-dong,  ding-dong  dah, 
Kossi-kossi-ki,  kossi-kossi-ka, 
Chikubu,  Chikubu,  Chikubu  Chang. 

Little  in  those  days  did  I  think  that  I  should  come 
across  an  island — or  any  other  place,  for  the  matter 
of  that — which  bore  the  name  of  part  of  this  wild  and 
idiotic  chorus,  £  Chikubu,  Chikubu,  Chikubu  Chang.'  It 
sounds  truly  wild.  Well,  so  it  is.  I  have  found  an 
island  on  Lake  Biwa  which  is  pronounced  and  spelt 
exactly  as  in  the  chorus  of  this  song  of  my  youth. 
'  Chikubu '  is  there,  and  I  am  puzzled  to  know  where  the 
composer  found  it.  In  my  Japanese  I  can't  find  it. 


O    TSURU     SEES    THE    GIANT    CARP     DEAD 

Chikubu  Island,   Lake  Biwa 

However,  let  us  to  the  story.  It  is  not  a  very  good  one  ; 
but,  as  it  relates  to  the  only  island  of  importance  in  the 
lake,  it  is  worth  chronicling. 

Chikubu  -shima  is  situated  about  two-thirds  up  to- 
wards the  north-western  end  of  Lake  Biwa,  in  Omi 
Province.  The  lake  is  some  thirty-five  miles  long  and 
twelve  broad.  The  island  is  holy,  I  believe,  and  it  is  said 
to  have  been  caused  by  an  earthquake  nearly  600  years  B.C. 
Fuji  Mountain  made  its  appearance  at  the  same  time. 
Thus  we  have  (so  far  as  we  like  to  believe  it)  the 
geographical  pedigree  of  Lake  Biwa  and  its  principal  island. 

The  nearest  land  to  Chikubu  is  Tsuzurao  Cape,  which 
is  about  two  miles  away.  There,  some  three  hundred 
years  ago,  dwelt  two  sisters,  O  Tsuru  and  Kame.  They 
were  fifteen  and  eleven  respectively,  and  dwelt  with  their 
old  and  only  uncle,  their  father  and  mother  and  all  their 
other  relations  being  dead.  Tsumi  (the  crane)  and 
Kame  (the  turtle)  were  devoted  to  each  other  ;  in  fact, 
the  poor  girls  clung  to  each  other  as  the  remnants  of  a 
family  should  cling.  They  loved  each  other.  They 
were  inseparable. 

At  that  time  there  was  much  fear  among  the 
inhabitants  of  Tsuzurao  Point  of  a  large  carp — a  carp  of 
such  size  that  it  was  called  *  The  Master  of  Lake  Biwa/ 
It  was  said  that  this  fish  ate  dogs,  cats,  and  sometimes 
people,  if  they  were  unwise  enough  to  swim  into  water 
sufficiently  deep  for  him  to  manoeuvre  in.  His  principal 
hover  was  in  the  waters  surrounding  Chikubu  Island,  at 
the  northern  end  of  the  lake. 

When  O  Tsuru  reached  the  age  of  fifteen,  and  her 
sister  O  Kame  was  eleven,  O  Tsuru  became  sick  with 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

consumption  ;  from  bad  she  grew  worse,  and  her  poor 
little  sister  O  Kame  became  quite  disconsolate ;  she  cried 
because  of  her  sister's  illness,  and  went  by  herself  to  pray 
at  all  the  temples  in  the  neighbourhood.  Day  after  day 
she  thought  of  nothing  but  her  sister's  illness  ;  but  all  she 
did,  poor  child,  was  in  vain.  O  Tsuru  became  worse. 

In  her  great  distress  O  Kame  thought  that  she  should 
venture  to  the  wild  and  sacred  island  of  Chikubu,  there  to 
pray  to  the  Goddess  of  Mercy,  Kwannon.  To  do  so  with 
any  chance  of  her  prayers  being  heard,  it  was  necessary 
that  she  should  go  alone.  She  would  row  off  secretly  that 

After  darkness  had  come  and  her  uncle's  household 
had  gone  to  sleep,  O  Kame  crept  forth  and  went  down  to 
the  edge  of  the  lake,  where  her  uncle's  boat  and  many 
others  lay.  Getting  into  one,  the  lightest  she  could  find, 
she  sculled  towards  Chikubu  Island.  The  sky  was  clear 
and  the  water  glistened. 

In  less  than  an  hour  this  whole-hearted  child  of 
Nippon  was  kneeling  before  the  ever-pleasing  and  sooth- 
ing figure  of  Kwannon,  the  goddess  ever  ready  to  listen 
to  the  prayers  of  the  unhappy  ;  and  there  she  prayed  to 
the  full  extent  of  her  feelings,  weeping  between-times  in 
sorrow  for  the  sickness  of  her  sister. 

When  poor  O  Kame  had  finished  praying  she  got  into 
her  boat  and  began  to  row  back  to  Tsuzurao.  She  had 
got  within  half-a-mile  of  that  place  when  a  terrible  storm 
arose,  and  in  the  third  squall  her  boat  was  capsized. 
O  Kame  was  no  swimmer,  and  as  she  sank  into  the  depths 
of  the  lake  the  giant  carp  saw  her,  and  instantly  carried 
her  off  and  devoured  her. 


Chikubu   Island,   Lake   Biwa 

Next  morning  there  was  consternation  at  Tsuzurao. 
When  it  was  found  that  both  O  Kame  San  and  one  of  the 
fishermen's  boats  were  missing  it  was  naturally  surmised 
that  she  had  gone  out  on  the  lake,  and  probably  to 
Chikubu  Island  to  pray  to  Kwannon. 

Boats  went  off  in  search  ;  but  nothing  could  be  found, 
save  the  marks  of  her  footsteps  from  the  shore  to  the 
shrine  dedicated  to  Kwannon.  On  hearing  this  sad  news, 
O  Tsuru,  who  lay  nigh  unto  death,  became  worse  ;  but 
in  spite  of  her  sad  condition  she  could  not  bear  the  idea 
of  lingering  on  in  the  world  without  her  sister  O  Kame. 
Consequently  she  resolved  to  destroy  her  life  as  near  as 
she  could  think  to  the  place  where  O  Kame  had  died,  so 
that  her  spirit  might  journey  with  hers  until  perhaps  they 
should  become  born  again  together.  At  all  events,  it  was 
clearly  her  duty  to  follow  her  sister. 

When  the  dusk  of  evening  arrived  O  Tsuru  crept  out 
from  her  room  and  gained  the  beach,  where  she,  like  her 
little  sister,  took  the  lightest  boat  which  she  could  find, 
and  rowed  herself  out,  in  spite  of  her  weakness,  to  a 
spot  where  she  thought  that  the  carp  might  have  killed 
her  sister.  There,  standing  in  the  bows  of  the  boat,  she 
cried  aloud  : 

'  Oh,  mighty  carp,  that  hast  devoured  my  sister,  devour 
me  also,  that  our  spirits  may  follow  the  same  path  and 
become  reunited.  It  is  for  this  I  cast  myself  into  the  lake  ! ' 

So  saying,  O  Tsuru  shut  her  eyes  and  jumped  into 
the  water.  Down,  down,  down  she  went,  until  she 
reached  the  bottom.  No  sooner  had  she  alighted  there, 
feeling  (curiously  enough)  no  effects  of  being  under  water, 
than  she  heard  her  name  called. 

129  17 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

'  Strange  indeed/  thought  she,  '  that  I  should  hear  m 
name  at  the  bottom  of  Lake  Biwa  ! ' 

She  opened  her  eyes,  and  beheld  standing  beside  he 
an  old  priest.  O  Tsuru  asked  him  who  he  was,  and  wh 
he  had  called  her. 

'  I  was  a  priest,'  he  explained.  '  Perhaps  I  am  on 
now.  At  all  events,  I  often  come  to  the  bottom  of  th 
lake.  I  know  all  about  your  little  sister  Kame,  of  he 
faithfulness  and  affection  for  you,  and  of  yours  for  her 
I  know  also  of  the  storm  which  capsized  her  boat  whe 
she  had  been  praying  to  Kwannon  on  Chikubu  Islanc 
and  of  her  being  taken  and  eaten  by  that  horribl 
carp.  Believe  me,  none  of  these  are  reasons  why  yo 
should  take  your  own  life.  Go  back  on  earth,  rathei 
and  pray  to  Buddha  for  your  sister's  blessing  am 
for  her  soul.  I  will  see  that  you  are  avenged  o: 
the  carp,  and  I  will  see  that  you  get  well  and  strong 
Take  my  hand,  so,  and  I  will  take  you  back  o: 

Having  said  this  and  carried  Tsuru  to  land,  the  pries 
disappeared.  For  some  time  she  lay  unconscious  ;  bu 
when  she  came  fully  to  her  senses  O  Tsuru  found  hersel 
on  Chikubu  Island,  and,  feeling  considerably  stronge 
than  she  had  felt  for  some  time,  she  went  to  the  shrin 
dedicated  to  Kwannon,  and  passed  the  remainder  of  th 
night  in  prayer. 

In  the  morning,  having  gone  to  the  beach,  she  sa\ 
boats  in  the  distance  coming  from  Tsuzurao  Point  ;  bu 
(what  was  more  extraordinary)  there  lay,  not  ten  feet  fron 
the  shore  where  she  stood,  an  enormous  carp,  fully  nin 
feet  in  length,  dead  ! 


Chikubu  Island,   Lake  Biwa 

Among  the  search-boats  that  arrived  was  one  contain- 
ing her  uncle  and  a  priest. 

Tsuru  told  her  story.  The  carp  was  buried  at  a  small 
promontory  on  the  island,  which  is  called  Miyazaki.  It 
was  named  Koizuka  iVIiya-zaki  (the  Carp's  Grave  at 
Temple  Cape). 

O  Tsuru  lived  to  a  ripe  old  age,  and  was  never  ill 
again.  History  tells  of  her  at  the  age  of  seventy  inform- 
ing Ota  Nobunaga,  who  came  to  destroy  temples  in  the 
neighbourhood,  that  if  he  touched  the  shrines  on  Chikubu 
Island  she  herself  would  see  to  his  destruction. 


IN  the  far-north  and  mountainous  portion  of  Echig 
Province  is  a  temple  which  during  the  reign  of  tr. 
Emperor  Ichijo  had  a  curious  story  attached  to  it  ;  anc 
though  the  Emperor  Ichijo  reigned  so  long  ago  z 
between  the  years  987  and  ion  A.D.,  the  teller  of  rt 
story  assured  me  that  he  believed  the  temple  to  be  i 
existence  still. 

The  temple's  name  is  Kinoto,  and  it  is  situated  in  tl: 
hills  in  wild  woods,  which  in  those  days  must  have  bee 
almost  virgin  forest. 

The  monk  who  reigned  supreme  over  the  Kinot 
Temple  was  a  youngish  man,  but  very  devout ;  he  rea 
sacred  sermons  from  the  holy  Buddhist  Bible,  aloud,  twic 

One  day  the  good  youth  perceived  that  two  monke) 
had  come  down  from  the  mountain  and  sat  listenin 
to  his  reading  with  serious  faces  and  no  tricks.  H 
was  amused,  and,  taking  no  notice,  continued  to  reac 
As  soon  as  he  had  finished,  the  monkeys  went  off  int 
the  hills. 




The  monk  was  surprised  to  see  the  monkeys  appear 
at  both  his  sermons  next  day  ;  and  when  on  the  third 
day  they  came  again  he  could  not  help  asking  why  they 
came  so  regularly. 

'  We  have  come,  holy  father,  because  we  like  to  hear 
the  words  and  sermons  of  Buddha  as  read  by  yourself, 
and  greatly  do  we  desire  to  retain  all  the  wisdom  and 
virtues  which  we  have  heard  you  recite.  Is  it  possible 
for  you  to  copy  out  the  great  and  holy  Buddhist  book  ? ' 

'  It  would  be  a  very  laborious  affair/  answered  the 
priest,  highly  astonished  ;  c  but,  so  rare  an  interest  is  it 
that  you  animals  take  in  the  sermons  of  our  Great  Lord 
Buddha,  1  will  make  an  effort  to  satisfy  your  wish,  hoping 
that  thereby  you  may  be  benefited/ 

The  monkeys  bowed  and  left  the  priest,  pleased  with 
themselves  and  the  promise  they  had  obtained,  while  the 
priest  set  to  at  his  gigantic  labours  of  copying  the  Buddhist 
Bible.  Some  six  or  seven  days  later  about  five  hundred 
monkeys  came  to  the  temple,  each  bearing  parchment 
paper,  which  they  laid  before  the  priest,  their  foreman 
saying  how  deeply  grateful  they  would  be  when  they  had 
got  the  copy  of  the  Bible,  so  that  they  might  know  the 
laws  and  mend  their  ways ;  and,  bowing  again  before 
the  priest,  they  retired,  all  except  the  first  two  monkeys. 
These  two  set  diligently  to  work  to  find  food  for  the 
priest  while  he  wrote.  Day  after  day  they  went  into 
the  mountains,  returning  with  wild  fruits  and  potatoes, 
honey  and  mushrooms  ;  and  the  priest  wrote  steadily  on, 
being  thus  attended,  until  he  had  copied  five  volumes  of 
the  sacred  book. 

When  he  had  reached  the  end  of  the  fifth  volume 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

the  monkeys,  for  some  unaccountable  reason,  failed  to 
come,  and  the  good  priest  was  quite  nervous  on  their 
account.  The  second  day  of  their  absence  he  went 
in  search  of  them,  fearing  that  they  must  have  been 
overcome  by  some  misfortune.  Everywhere  the  priest 
found  traces  of  their  forages  in  his  behalf, — branches 
broken  off  the  wild  fruit  trees,  scratchings  and  holes 
where  they  had  been  looking  for  wild  potatoes.  Evidently 
the  monkeys  had  worked  hard,  and  the  poor  priest  felt 
deeply  anxious  on  their  account. 

At  last,  when  near  the  top  of  the  mountain,  his  heart 
gave  a  bound  and  was  filled  with  sorrow  when  he  came 
to  a  hole  which  the  monkeys  had  made  in  looking  for 
wild  potatoes — so  deep  that  they  had  been  unable  to  get 
out.  No  doubt  both  of  them  had  died  of  broken  hearts, 
fearing  that  the  priest  would  think  they  had  deserted 

There  remained  nothing  to  do  but  to  bury  the 
monkeys  and  pray  for  their  blessing  ;  which  he  did. 
Shortly  after  this  the  priest  was  called  away  from  the 
temple  to  another  :  so,  as  he  saw  no  necessity  to  continue 
copying  the  Buddhist  Bible,  he  put  the  five  volumes  he 
had  copied  into  one  of  the  pillars  of  the  temple,  which 
had  a  sort  of  shelf  cupboard  cut  in  it. 

Forty  years  later  there  arrived  at  the  temple  one 
Kinomi-ta-ka  Ason,  who  had  become  Governor  or  Lord 
of  Echigo  Province.  He  came  with  half  of  his  retainers 
and  domestics,  and  asked  the  priests  if  they  knew  any- 
thing of  the  unfinished  copy  of  the  Buddhist  Bible.  Was 
it  in  the  temple  still  ? 

'No/   they  said,    c  we   were   none   of  us   here  at  the 


time  your  Lordship  mentions.  But  there  is  one  old  man, 
a  servant,  who  is  eighty-five  years  of  age,  and  he  may 
be  able  to  tell  you  something.  We  will  send  for  him/ 

Shortly  afterwards  a  man  with  flowing  white  beard 
was  ushered  in. 

'  Is  it  the  old  document  that  a  priest  began  copying 
out  for  the  monkeys  you  want  ?  Well,  if  so,  that  has 
never  been  touched  since,  and  is  a  matter  of  so  little 
importance  that  I  had  nearly  forgotten  about  it.  The 
document  is  in  a  little  secret  shelf  which  is  hollowed  out 
in  one  of  the  main  pillars  of  the  temple.  I  will  fetch  it.' 

Some  ten  minutes  later  the  documents  were  in  the 
hands  of  Kinomi-ta-ka  Ason,  who  was  in  ecstasy  of 
delight  at  the  sight  of  them.  He  told  the  priests  and 
the  old  man  that  he  was  the  Lord  of  Echigo  Province, 
and  that  he  had  journeyed  all  the  way  to  their  temple 
to  see  if  unfinished  volumes  of  the  Bible  remained  there. 
*  For,7  he  said,  c  I  was  the  senior  of  the  two  monkeys  who 
were  so  anxious  to  obtain  copies  of  the  whole  of  our  Lord 
Buddha's  sermons  ;  and,  now  that  I  have  been  born  a 
man,  I  wish  to  complete  them/ 

Kinomi-ta-ka  Ason  was  allowed  to  take  the  five 
volumes  away  with  him,  and  for  five  years  he  kept 
copying  out  the  sacred  book.  He  copied  three  thousand 
volumes  in  all,  and  it  is  said  that  they  are  now  kept  in 
the  Temple  of  Kinoto,  in  Echigo,  as  its  most  sacred 




Oiso,  in  the  Province  of  Sagami,  has  become  such  ; 
celebrated  place  as  the  chosen  residence  of  the  Marquis  Itc 
and  of  several  other  high  Japanese  personages,  that  a  stor} 
of  a  somewhat  romantic  nature,  dating  back  to  the  Ninar 
period,  may  be  interesting. 

During  one  of  the  earlier  years  of  the  period,  whic} 
lasted  from  1116  to  1169  A.D.,  a  certain  knight,  whost 
name  was  Takadai  Jiro,  became  ill  in  the  town  01 
Kamakura,  where  he  had  been  on  duty,  and  was  advisee 
to  spend  the  hot  month  of  August  at  Oiso,  and  there  tc 
give  himself  perfect  rest,  peace,  and  quietness. 

Having  obtained  permission  to  do  this,  Takadai  Jirc 
lost  no  time  in  getting  to  the  place  and  settling  himsell 
down,  as  comfortably  as  was  possible,  in  a  small  inn  which 
faced  the  sea.  Being  a  landsman  who  (with  the  excep- 
tion of  his  service  at  Kamakura)  had  hardly  ever  seen 
the  sea,  Takadai  was  pleased  to  dwell  in  gazing  at 
it  both  by  day  and  by  night,  for,  like  most  Japanese  oi 
high  birth,  he  was  poetical  and  romantic. 

After  his  arrival  at  Oiso,  Takadai  felt  weary  and  dusty. 
As  soon  as  he  had  secured  his  room  he  threw  off  his 


The  Diving- Woman  of  Oiso   Bay 

clothes  and  went  down  to  bathe.  Takadai,  whose  age 
was  about  twenty-five  years,  was  a  good  swimmer,  and 
plunged  into  the  sea  without  fear,  going  out  for  nearly 
half-a-mile.  There,  however,  misfortune  overtook  him. 
He  was  seized  with  a  violent  cramp  and  began  to  sink. 
A  fishing-boat  sculled  by  a  man  and  containing  a  diving- 
girl  happened  to  see  him  and  went  to  the  rescue  ;  but 
by  this  time  he  had  lost  consciousness,  and  had  sunk  for 
the  third  time. 

The  girl  jumped  overboard  and  swam  to  the  spot 
where  he  had  disappeared,  and,  having  dived  deep,  brought 
him  to  the  surface,  holding  him  there  until  the  boat  came 
up,  when  by  the  united  efforts  of  herself  and  her  father 
Takadai  was  hauled  on  board,  but-  not  before  he  had 
realised  that  the  soft  arm  that  clung  round  his  neck  was 
that  of  a  woman. 

When  he  was  thoroughly  conscious  again,  before  they 
had  reached  the  shore,  Takadai  saw  that  his  preserver 
was  a  beautiful  ama  (diving-girl)  aged  not  more  than 
seventeen.  Such  beauty  he  had  never  seen  before — not 
even  in  the  higher  circles  in  which  he  was  accustomed  to 
move.  Takadai  was  in  love  with  his  brave  saviour  before 
the  boat  had  grounded  on  the  pebbly  beach.  Determined 
in  some  way  to  repay  the  kindness  he  had  received, 
Takadai  helped  to  haul  their  boat  up  the  steep  beach  and 
then  to  carry  their  fish  and  nets  to  their  little  thatched 
cottage,  where  he  thanked  the  girl  for  her  noble  and 
gallant  act  in  saving  him,  and  congratulated  her  father  on 
the  possession  of  such  a  daughter.  Having  done  this, 
he  returned  to  his  inn,  which  was  not  more  than  a  few 
hundred  yards  away. 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

From  that  time  on  the  soul  of  Takadai  knew  no  peace 
Love  of  the  maddest  kind  was  on  him.  There  was  nc 
sleep  for  him  at  night,  for  he  saw  nothing  but  the  face  ol 
the  beautiful  diving-girl,  whose  name  (he  had  ascertained^ 
was  Kinu.  Try  as  he  might,  he  could  not  for  a  momeni 
put  her  out  of  his  mind.  In  the  daytime  it  was  worse, 
for  O  Kinu  was  not  to  be  seen,  being  out  at  sea  with  hei 
father,  diving  for  the  haliotis  shell  and  others  ;  and  it  was 
generally  the  dusk  of  evening  before  she  returned,  and 
then,  in  the  dim  light,  he  could  not  see  her. 

Once,  indeed,  Takadai  tried  to  speak  to  O  Kinu  ;  but 
she  would  have  nothing  to  say  to  him,  and  continued 
busying  herself  in  assisting  her  father  to  carry  the  nets 
and  fish  up  to  their  cottage.  This  made  Takadai  far 
worse,  and  he  went  home  wild,  mad,  and  more  in  love 
than  ever. 

At  last  his  love  grew  so  great  that  he  could  endure  it 
no  longer.  He  felt  that  at  all  events  it  would  be  a  relief 
to  declare  it.  So  he  took  his  most  confidential  servant 
into  the  secret,  and  despatched  him  with  a  letter  to  the 
fisherman's  cottage.  O  Kinu  San  did  not  even  write  an 
answer,  but  told  the  old  servant  to  thank  his  master  in 
her  behalf  for  his  letter  and  his  proposal  of  marriage. 
4  Tell  him  also/  said  she,  '  that  no  good  could  come  of  a 
union  between  one  of  so  high  a  birth  as  he  and  one  so 
lowly  as  I.  Such  a  badly  matched  pair  could  never 
make  a  happy  home/  In  answer  to  the  servant's  ex- 
postulation, she  merely  added,  '  I  have  told  you  what  to 
tell  your  master  :  take  him  the  message.' 

Takadai  Jiro,  on  hearing  what  O  Kinu  had  said,  was 
not  angry.  He  was  simply  astonished.  It  was  beyond 


The  Diving-Woman  of  Oiso   Bay 

his  belief  that  a  fisher-girl  could  refuse  such  an  offer  in 
marriage  as  himself — a  samurai  of  the  upper  class. 
Indeed,  instead  of  being  angry,  Takadai  was  so  startled  as 
to  be  rather  pleased  than  otherwise  ;  for  he  thought  that 
perhaps  he  had  taken  the  fair  O  Kinu  San  a  little  too 
suddenly,  and  that  this  first  refusal  was  only  a  bit  of 
coyness  on  her  part  that  was  not  to  be  wondered  at.  *  I 
will  wait  a  day  or  two/  thought  Takadai.  *  Now  that 
Kinu  knows  of  my  love,  she  may  think  of  me,  and  so 
become  anxious  to  see  me.  I  will  keep  out  of  the  way. 
Perhaps  then  she  will  be  as  anxious  to  see  me  as  I  am 
to  see  her/ 

Takadai  kept  to  his  own  room  for  the  next  three 
days,  believing  in  his  heart  that  O  Kinu  must  be  pining 
for  him.  On  the  evening  of  the  fourth  day  he  wrote 
another  letter  to  O  Kinu,  more  full  of  love  than  the  first, 
despatched  his  old  servant,  and  waited  patiently  for  the 

When  O  Kinu  was  handed  the  letter  she  laughed  and 

'  Truly,  old  man,  you  appear  to  me  very  funny,  bringing 
me  letters.  This  is  the  second  in  four  days,  and  never 
until  four  days  ago  have  I  had  a  letter  addressed  to  me  in 
my  life.  What  is  this  one  about,  I  wonder  ? ' 

Saying  this,  she  tore  it  open  and  read,  and  then,  turning 
to  the  servant,  continued  :  *  It  is  difficult  for  me  to 
understand.  If  you  gave  my  message  to  your  master 
correctly  he  could  not  fail  to  know  that  I  could  not 
marry  him.  His  position  in  life  is  far  too  high.  Is  your 
master  quite  right  in  his  head  ? ' 

1  Yes  :  except  for  the  love  of  you,  my  young  master  is 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

quite  right  in  his  head  ;  but  since  he  has  seen  you  he 
talks  and  thinks  of  nothing  but  you,  until  even  I  have 
got  quite  tired  of  it,  and  earnestly  pray  to  Kwannon  daily 
that  the  weather  may  get  cool,  so  that  we  may  return  to 
our  duties  at  Kamakura.  For  three  full  days  have  I  had 
to  sit  in  the  inn  listening  to  my  young  master's  poems 
about  your  beauty  and  his  love.  And  I  had  hoped 
that  every  day  would  find  us  fishing  from  a  boat 
for  the  sweet  aburamme  fish,  which  are  now  fat  and 
good,  as  every  other  sensible  person  is  doing.  Yes:  my 
master's  head  was  right  enough  ;  but  you  have  unsettled 
it,  it  seems.  Oh,  do  marry  him,  so  that  we  shall  all  be 
happy  and  go  out  fishing  every  day  and  waste  no  more 
of  this  unusual  holiday/ 

'You  are  a  selfish  old  man/  answered  O  Kinu. 
'Would  you  that  I  married  to  satisfy  your  master's  love 
and  your  desire  for  fishing  ?  I  have  told  you  to  tell  your 
master  that  I  will  not  marry  him,  because  we  could  not, 
in  our  different  ranks  of  life,  become  happy.  Go  and 
repeat  that  answer.' 

The  servant  implored  once  more  ;  but  O  Kinu 
remained  firm,  and  finally  he  was  obliged  to  deliver  the 
unpleasant  message  to  his  master. 

Poor  Takadai !  This  time  he  was  distressed,  for  the 
girl  had  even  refused  to  meet  him.  What  was  he  to  do  r 
He  wrote  one  more  imploring  letter,  and  also  spoke  to 
O  Kinu's  father  ;  but  the  father  said,  c  Sir,  my  daughter  is 
all  I  have  to  love  in  the  world  :  I  cannot  influence  her  in 
such  a  thing  as  her  love.  Moreover,  all  our  diving-girls 
are  strong  in  mind  as  well  as  in  body,  for  constant  danger 
strengthens  their  nerves  :  they  are  not  like  the  weak 


The  Diving- Woman  of  Oiso  Bay 

farmers'  girls,  who  can  be  influenced  and  even  ordered  to 
marry  men  they  hate.  Their  minds  are,  oftener  than 
not,  stronger  than  those  of  us  men.  I  always  did  what 
Kinu's  mother  told  me  I  was  to  do,  and  could  not  influence 
Kinu  in  such  a  thing  as  her  marriage.  I  might  give  you 
my  advice,  and  should  do  so  ;  but,  sir,  in  this  case  I  must 
agree  with  my  daughter,  that,  great  as  the  honour  done  to 
her,  she  would  be  unwise  to  marry  one  above  her  own 
station  in  life/ 

Takadai's  heart  was  broken.  There  was  nothing  more 
that  he  could  say  and  nothing  more  that  he  could  do. 
Bowing  low,  he  left  the  fisherman  and  retired  forth- 
with to  his  room  in  the  inn,  which  he  never  left,  much  to 
the  consternation  of  his  servant. 

Day  by  day  he  grew  thinner,  and  as  the  day  approached 
for  his  return  from  leave,  Takadai  was  far  more  of  an 
invalid  than  he  had  been  on  his  arrival  at  Oiso.  What 
was  he  to  do?  The  sentiment  of  the  old  proverb  that 
'  there  are  as  good  fish  in  the  sea  as  ever  came  out  of  it ' 
did  not  in  any  way  appeal  to  him.  He  felt  that  life  was 
no  longer  worth  having.  He  resolved  to  end  it  in 
the  sea,  where  his  spirit  might  perhaps  linger  and  catch 
sight  occasionally  of  the  beautiful  diving-girl  who  had 
bewitched  his  heart. 

Takadai  that  evening  wrote  a  last  note  to  Kinu,  and  as 
soon  as  the  villagers  of  Oiso  were  asleep  he  arose  and  went 
to  the  cottage,  slipping  the  note  under  the  door.  Then  he 
went  to  the  beach,  and,  after  tying  a  large  stone  to  a  rope 
and  to  his  neck,  he  got  into  a  boat  and  rowed  himself 
about  a  hundred  yards  from  shore,  where  he  took  the  stone 
in  his  arms  and  jumped  overboard. 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

Next  morning  O  Kinu  was  shocked  to  read  in  the  note 
that  Jiro  Takadai  was  to  kill  himself  for  love  of  her.  She 
rushed  down  to  the  beach,  but  could  see  only  an  empty 
fishing-boat  some  three  or  four  hundred  yards  from  shore, 
to  which  she  swam.  There  she  found  Takadai's  tobacco 
box  and  his  juro  (medicine  box).  O  Kinu  thought  that 
Takadai  must  have  thrown  himself  into  the  sea  some- 
where hereabouts  :  so  she  began  to  dive,  and  was  not  long 
before  she  found  the  body,  which  she  brought  to  the 
surface,  after  some  trouble  on  account  of  the  weight  of 
the  stone  which  the  arms  rigidly  grasped.  O  Kinu 
took  the  body  back  to  shore,  where  she  found  Takadai's 
old  servant  wringing  his  hands  in  grief. 

The  body  was  taken  back  to  Kamakura,  where  it  was 
buried.  O  Kinu  was  sufficiently  touched  to  vow  that  she 
would  never  marry  any  one.  True,  she  had  not  loved 
Takadai  ;  but  he  had  loved,  and  had  died  for  her.  If  she 
married,  his  spirit  would  not  rest  in  peace. 

No  sooner  had  O  Kinu  mentally  undertaken  this 
generous  course  than  a  strange  thing  came  to  pass. 

Sea-gulls,  which  were  especially  uncommon  in  Oiso 
Bay,  began  to  swarm  into  it ;  they  settled  over  the  exact 
spot  where  Takadai  had  drowned  himself.  In  stormy 
weather  they  hovered  over  it  on  the  wing  ;  but  they  never 
went  away  from  the  place.  Fishermen  thought  it  extra- 
ordinary ;  but  Kinu  knew  well  enough  that  the  spirit  of 
Takadai  must  have  passed  into  the  gulls,  and  for  it  she 
prayed  regularly  at  the  temple,  and  out  of  her  small 
savings  built  a  little  tomb  sacred  to  the  memory  of 
Takadai  Jiro. 

By  the  time  Kinu  was  twenty  years  of  age  her  beauty 


The  Diving- Woman  of  Oiso   Bay 

was  celebrated,  and  many  were  the  offers  she  had  in 
marriage  ;  but  she  refused  them  all,  and  kept  her  vow  of 
celibacy.  During  her  entire  life  the  sea-gulls  were  always 
on  the  spot  where  Takadai  had  been  drowned.  She  died 
by  drowning  in  a  severe  typhoon  some  nine  years  later 
than  Takadai ;  and  from  that  day  the  sea-gulls  dis- 
appeared, showing  that  his  spirit  was  now  no  longer  in 
fear  of  O  Kinu  marrying. 




IN  the  period  of  Gen-roku,  which  lasted  from  1688  to 
1704,  when  the  Shogun  or  military  ruler  Tsunayoshi's 
power  was  in  full  sway,  he  presented  a  solid  gold  figure 
of  Kwannon,  the  Goddess  of  Mercy,  to  each  of  the  three 
leading  families  of  the  provinces  of  Kii,  Mito,  and  Owari, 
and  they  were  considered  as  of  the  highest  and  greatest 
value  by  each  of  these  leading  Lords  or  Daimios,  who  had 
them  kept  in  their  inner  palaces,  so  that  they  were  almost 
impossible  to  get  at,  and  were  considered  at  least  absolutely 
safe  from  robbers  ;  but  even  in  spite  of  this  the  Lord  of 
Kii  took  additional  precautions  by  always  having  a  man 
night  and  day  to  guard  his  idol. 

At  the  same  period  lived  a  most  redoubtable  robber 
whose  name  was  Yayegumo.  He  was  more  than  an 
ordinary  robber,  and  was  what  the  people  called  a  c  fu- 
in-kiri,'  which  means  '  seal  breaker '  or  *  seal  cutter '  ;  a 
first-class  burglar,  in  fact,  who  never  descended  to  robbing 
the  poor,  but  only  robbed  the  richest  and  most  difficult 
palaces  and  castles  that  were  to  be  got  at,  taking  from 


Theft  and  Recovery  of  a  Golden  Kwannon 

them  only  the  highest  and  most  valuable  treasures  they 

This  bold  robber  broke  into  the  Lord  of  Kii's  Palace 
— no  one  knew  how — took  the  idol  of  Kwannon,  and  left 
his  name  written  on  a  piece  of  paper.  The  Lord  of  Kii, 
very  angry,  sent  for  the  guard,  whose  name  was  Mumashima 
Iganosuke,  and  reprimanded  him  severely,  asking  him 
what  excuse  he  had  to  make.  '  None,  my  lord  :  tired- 
ness overcame  me  and  I  slept.  There  is  but  one  way 
in  which  I  can  show  my  regret,  and  that  I  will  do  by 
destroying  myself.' 

The  Lord  of  Kii,  who  was  a  man  of  wisdom,  answered 
that  before  he  did  this  it  would  be  more  useful  if  Iganosuke 
would  follow  up  the  robber  and  try  to  recover  the  idol. 
Iganosuke,  who  had  always  been  a  faithful  servant,  readily 
consented,  and,  having  obtained  indefinite  leave,  went  away. 
For  fully  four  months  he  was  quite  unsuccessful,  though 
he  had  travelled  half  over  the  country.  At  last  he  heard 
reports  of  robberies  in  Chugoku,  and  then  later  in  Shikoku 
Province.  Hurrying  down  from  Izumo  to  Okayama,  he 
there  got  on  board  a  ship  bound  across  the  Inland  Sea  for 
Takamatsu,  in  Shikoku.  The  weather  was  fine  and  the 
sea  smooth,  and  Iganosuke  was  in  high  spirits,  for  he  had 
heard  that  one  or  two  of  the  robberies  had  undoubtedly 
been  done  by  Yayegumo,  and  he  felt  that  at  last  he  must 
be  getting  nearer  the  man  he  wished  to  catch — perhaps, 
even,  he  was  on  that  very  boat !  Who  could  tell  ? 
Thinking  of  these  possibilities,  Iganosuke  kept  very  much 
to  himself,  watching  the  people,  whose  spirits  all  seemed 
to  be  affected  by  the  beautiful  weather,  for,  though  mostly 
strangers,  they  were  all  sociable. 

145  19 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japar 

Among  them  was  a  good-looking  young  samurai  \ 
had  attracted  Iganosuke  by  his  refined  appearance,  as  < 
by  a  beautiful  gold  pipe  which  he  drew  out  from  its  c 
and  smoked  while  chatting  to  his  neighbour.  By  \ 
by  a  samurai  of  some  sixty  years  of  age  came  up  to 
young  man,  and  said  : 

c  Sir,  I  have  lost  my  pipe  and  tobacco-pouch  somewli 
on  this  ship.  I  am  a  confirmed  smoker,  and  almost  dy 
for  a  whiff  of  tobacco.  Might  I  borrow  yours  fo 
moment  or  two  ? ' 

The    young   samurai  handed    both    his    pipe    and 
pouch  to  the  old  man  with  a  bow,  saying  that  this  affon 
him  great  pleasure. 

The  old  samurai,  after  his  three  puffs  of  the  p: 
was  about  to  empty  out  the  ash  and  refill  it.  To  do 
without  thinking  what  he  was  about,  he  knocked  the  f 
on  the  outside  of  the  ship.  To  his  horror  the  gank 
(the  bowl)  dropped  off  into  the  sea.  The  old  r 
knew  that  the  pipe  was  gold  and  of  great  value,  ; 
was  utterly  confused.  He  did  not  know  what  to  < 
His  apologies  were  profuse  ;  but  they  did  not  bring  b 
the  end  of  the  pipe.  The  young  samurai,  of  course, 
much  annoyed  ;  but  it  would  be  no  use  getting  an£ 
In  any  case  that  would  have  been  an  excessively  vul 
proceeding,  more  especially  with  so  old  a  man. 
said  : 

4  Ah  !   the  pipe  was  given  to  me  by  the  lord  of 
clan  for  meritorious  service  rendered  in  the  big  hunt 
year,  and  truly  I  do  not  know  how  I  shall  be  able  to  ] 
the  disgrace  of  incurring  his  anger.'     He  grew  pak 
he  mused. 


"heft  and  Recovery  of  a  Golden  Kwannon 

The  old  samurai  felt  more  sorry  than  ever  when  he 
;ard  this,  and  said  : 

'  There  is  only  one  way  I  see  that  you  can  face  your 
rd,  and  that  is  by  my  death.  I  also  was  a  samurai 

some  importance  when  younger,  and  know  how  to 
•nduct  myself.  It  is  right  that  I  should  disembowel 
yself  as  an  apology  to  you  for  my  carelessness.'  And, 
ying  this,  the  old  samurai  drew  his  right  arm  and 
toulder  from  under  his  kimono. 

Surprised  at  the  old  man's  high  sense  of  honour,  the 
)ung  samurai  seized  the  hand  in  which  he  held  his  sword 
id  prevented  him,  saying  : 

'  That  will  really  do  no  good.  It  would  not  make  it 
,sier  for  me  to  explain  to  my  lord.  Your  death  can 
ing  no  apology  to  him.  It  was  I  to  whom  he  gave  the 
pe,  and  it  is  I  who  have  lost  it  by  lending  it  to  you.  It 

I,  therefore,  who  should  offer  the  apology  to  my  lord 
r  doing  harakiri  ! '  Then  the  young  samurai  prepared 

kill  himself. 

Iganosuke,  who  had  been  watching  the  incident,  stepped 
rward  and  said  : 

*  Gentlemen,  I  also  am  a  samurai,  and  I  have  heard 
lat  you  say.  Let  me  say  that,  though  the  pipe-end  has 
Hen  into  the  sea,  it  in  no  way  follows  that  it  is  lost 
yond  recovery.  Both  of  you  appear  to  me  to  be 
mecessarily  hasty.  I  am  a  good  diver  and  swimmer  ; 
ir  ship  is  becalmed  ;  and  the  water  hereabouts  is  not  very 
ep.  I  am  quite  ready  to  try  and  help  you  to  recover 
e  pipe  if  you  will  allow  me.' 

Of  course,  both  the  other  samurai  were  pleased  at  this 
sa,  of  which,  being  no  swimmers  themselves,  they  had 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japar 

never  thought.     And  Iganosuke  lost  no  time  in  throw 
off  his  kimono  and  diving  into  the  sea,  where    he 
thoroughly  at  home,  having  been  in  his  younger  day: 
expert  a  swimmer  that  he  gave  lessons  to  many  of 
samurai  at  Kii. 

Down  he  went  to  the  bottom,  finding  not  much  m 
than  seven   Japanese    fathoms    of  five   feet   each, 
bottom  was  composed  almost  entirely  of  stones  and 
very  clear.     Iganosuke  had  not  moved  many  feet  al< 
before  he  saw  the  end  of  the  gold  pipe,  and  at  the  s; 
time     something     else     gleaming     between     the    stoi 
Thrusting  the  pipe  between  his  teeth,  he  seized  the  ot 
object,  and  to  his  great  astonishment  found  it  to  be 
less  a  thing  than  the  gold  figure  of  Kwannon  which 
been  stolen  from  the  castle  of  the  Lord  of  Kii. 

Carefully  returning  to  the  surface,  Iganosuke  scramt 
on  board,  and  handed  the  pipe-end  to  the  grateful  yoi 
samurai,  who,  with  the  old  one,  bowed  to  the  ground. 

When  Iganosuke  had  thrown  on  his  clothes,  he  saic 

*  I  am  a  retainer  of  the  Lord  of  Kii,  and  I  have  cc 
from  our  castle  of  Takegaki  to  hunt  for  the  robber  \ 
stole  the  very  figure  of  Kwannon  which  I  have  just 
good  fortune  while  looking  for  your  pipe  recovered, 
it  not  wonderful  ?  Truly  the  old  saying,  "  Nasakewa  1 
no  tame  naradzu  "  *  is  quite  true  !  ' 

Then  the  old  man,  in  a  wild  state  of  delight,  crii 
*  Even  more  curious  is  this.  My  name  is  Matsure  Fu 
of  Takamatsu.  Only  a  month  ago  the  robber  whom  i 
name  Yayegumo  Fuin-kiri,  the  seal-breaker,  came  i 
the  bedroom  of  my  lord,  and  was  about  to  steal  gi 

1  Favour  is  not  for  other  people. 

Theft  and  Recovery  of  a  Golden  Kwannon 

valuables,  when  I,  who  was  on  guard,  tried  to  take  him. 
Fhough  an  old  man,  I  am  a  fencer  ;  but  he  was  too 
:lever  for  me  and  escaped.  I  followed  him  down  to  the 
ueach,  but  was  not  fast  enough,  and  he  got  away.  Since 
:hen  I  have  always  wondered  what  he  had  in  his  kimono 
Dockets,  for  the  bright  rays  of  some  gilded  thing  shot  out 
}f  them.  The  robber  had  not  got  far  from  the  shore 
Before  a  great  storm  arose.  He  was  wrecked  and 
Irowned.  Both  his  body  and  the  boat  were  recovered 
»ome  days  later,  and  I  identified  them  ;  but  there  was 
lothing  in  his  pocket.  It  is  clear  that  when  his  boat 
apset  the  robber  lost  the  Kwannon,  which  must  have 
:>een  what  I  saw  shining  out  of  his  pocket.' 

Truly  this  was  a  wonderful  string  of  coincidences  ! 

Iganosuke,  who  had  no  further  cause  to  travel,  returned 
:o  the  Lord  of  Kii,  and  reported  his  adventures  and  good 
•ortune.  So  much  pleased  was  the  Daimio,  he  gave 
[ganosuke  a  present. 

The  figure  of  the  gold  Kwannon  was  better  guarded 
:han  ever  before.  Undoubtedly  it  had  miraculous  power, 
md  it  may  still  be  among  the  treasures  of  Kii. 



SOME  twelve  miles  south  of  Shodo  shima  (Shodo  island) 
the  largish  island  of  Nao  or  Naoshima,  on  the  western  si 
of  the  enchanting  Inland  Sea,  which  it  has  been  my  go< 
fortune  to  cruise  over  at  will,  helped,  instead  of  bei; 
hindered,  by  the  Japanese  Government,  in  consequence 
the  kindness  of  Sir  Ernest  Satow.  Naoshima  has  b 
few  inhabitants,  not,  I  think,  more  than  from  sixty  to 
hundred  ;  in  the  time  of  our  story,  about  the  year  115 
there  were  only  two, — Sobei  and  his  good  wife  O  Yor 
These  lived  alone  at  a  beautiful  little  bay,  where  they  h 
built  a  fishing -hut,  and  cultivated  some  three  thousa 
tsubo  of  land,  with  the  produce  of  which  and  an  unlimit 
supply  of  fish  they  were  perfectly  happy,  untroubled 
the  quarrels  of  the  day,  which  were  then  particulai 
serious,  it  being  the  Hogen  period,  which,  lasting  frc 
1156  to  1 1 60,  took  its  name  from  what  was  known 
the  Hogen  rebellion  or  (to  put  it  correctly)  revolutic 
It  was  during  this  exciting  period  that  the  ex-Emper 
Shutoku  (life,  1124-1141),  who  was  suspected  of  leadi; 
the  rebellion,  was  for  safety  banished  by  those  in  power 
the  island  of  Naoshima. 

Stranded,  marooned  in  little  else  than  the  clothes 


SHUTOKU,    WHO    IS     HIS    OWN    SON 

Saigyo   Hoshi's   Rock 

:>od  in,  he  was  in  an  unenviable  plight.  As  far  as  he 
lew,  the  island  was  desolate.  After  his  marooners  had 
t  him  he  strolled  on  the  beach,  wondering  what  next  he 
ould  do.  Should  he  take  his  life,  or  should  he  struggle 

retain  it  ?  While  pondering  these  questions  night 
ercame  Shutoku  before  he  had  thought  of  making 
shelter,  and  he  sat,  in  consequence,  contemplating  the 
st  and  listening  to  the  sad  waves. 

Next  morning,  as  the  sun  rose  above  the  horizon,  the 
-Emperor  began  to  move.  He  had  resolved  to  live, 
e  had  not  gone  far  along  the  beach  when  he  found  marks 
feet  upon  the  sand,  and  shortly  afterwards,  from  across 
little  rocky  promontory,  he  saw  smoke  ascending  in  the 
11  air.  Lightened  in  heart,  the  ex-Emperor  stepped  out, 
d  after  some  twenty  minutes  of  stiff  climbing  came  down 
to  the  bay  where  stood  the  hut  of  Sobei  and  his  wife, 
[arching  boldly  up,  he  told  them  who  he  was,  and  how 
:  had  been  marooned  and  exiled,  and  asked  .them  many 

'  Sir/  said  Sobei,  '  my  wife  and  I  are  very  humble 
:ople.  We  live  in  peace,  for  there  are  none  to  disturb 
i  here,  and  we  are  passing  through  our  lives  very  happily. 
o  our  humble  fare  you  are  truly  welcome.  Our  cottage 

small ;  but  you  shall  have  its  shelter  while  we  build 
lother  and  a  better  for  you,  and  at  all  times  we  shall 
j  your  servants/ 

The  ex-Emperor  was  pleased  to  hear  these  words  of 
iendship,  and  became  one  of  the  family.  He  helped 

>  build  a  lodge  for  himself.     He  helped  the  old  couple 
their  fishing  and  agriculture,  and  became  deeply  attached 

>  them. 

Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

In  the  autumn  he  fell  ill,  and  was  nursed  through 
dangerous  fever,  his  medicines  being  made    by  O  Yo 
from  leaves,  seaweeds,  and  other  natural  products  of  t 
island  ;  and  towards  the  spring  he  began  to  recover, 
his  convalescence  the  ex-Emperor  went  out  one  day  to 
by  the  sea  and  admire  the  scenery,  and  became  so  absorb 
in  a   flock   of  seagulls  that  were  following   a  school 
sardines    that    he    failed    to  notice   what  was   going    < 
around  him.      When  he  looked  up   suddenly  it  was 
find  himself  surrounded  by  no  less  than  fourteen  knigl: 
in  armour. 

As  soon  as  these  noticed  that  the  ex-Emperor  had  se 
them,  one  the  eldest,  a  grey-haired  and  benevoler 
looking  old  man,  stepped  up  to  him,  and,  bowing,  said 

*  Oh,  my  beloved  Sovereign,  at  last  I  have  found  yo1 
My  name  is  Furuzuka  Iga,  and  regretfully  I  am  oblig 
to  tell  you  that  I  am  sent  by  the  Mikado  to  secure  yo 
head.     He  fears  while  you  live,  even  in  banishment,  f 
the  peace  of  the  country.     Please  enable  me  to  take  yo 
head  as  speedily  and  as  painlessly  as  possible.     It  is  r 
misfortune  to  have  to  do  it.' 

The  ex-Emperor  seemed  in  no  way  surprised  at  tl 
speech.  Without  a  word,  he  arranged  himself  a] 
stretched  his  neck  to  receive  the  blow  from  Iga's  sword. 

Iga,  touched  by  his  manly  conduct,  began  to  wee 
and  exclaimed  : 

*  Oh,  what  a  brave  sovereign  !  what  a  samurai !     He 
I  grieve  to  be  his  executioner  ! '     But  his  duty  was  plaii 
so  he  nerved  himself  and  struck  off  the  ex-Emperor's  he 
with  a  single  blow. 

As  soon   as  the   head  fell    upon   the  sand  the  oth 


Saigyo  Hoshi's   Rock 

ights  came  up  and  respectfully  placed  the  head   in   a 
cen  bag  and  awaited  orders  from  their  chief. 
*  My  friends,'  said  Furuzuka  Iga,  '  go  back  to  the  boat 
i  take  the  head   of  Shutoku   to  the  Emperor.     Tell 
n  that  his  orders   have  been  carried  out,  and  that   he 
sd  have  no  future  fear.     Go  without  me,  for  I  remain 
re  to  weep  over  the  deed  which  I  have  had  to  do.' 
The  knights  were  astonished  ;  but  they  departed,  and 
a.  gave  way  to  grief. 

Soon  it  came  to  pass  that  Sobei  and  his  wife  went  to 
>k  for  the  ex-Emperor,  for  his  absence  had  been  long, 
icy  knew  the  spot  where  he  loved  to  sit  and  gaze  at 
;  beautiful  scenery.  Thus  it  was  that  they  found 
i  weeping. 

'  What  is  this  ? '  they  cried.  '  What  means  this  blood 
on  the  sand  ?  Who,  sir,  may  you  be,  and  where  is  our 
est  ? ' 

Iga  explained  that  he  was  an  envoy  from  the  Mikado, 
I  that  it  had  been  his  painful  duty  to  kill  the  ex- 

The  fury  of  Sobei  and  his  wife  knew  no  bounds, 
jtinctively  they  decided  that  they  must  both  die  after 
mging  the  ex-Emperor  by  killing  Iga.  They  proceeded 
attack  him  with  their  knives — Sobei  in  front  and  his 
re  from  behind. 

Iga  avoided  them  by  his  proficiency  in  jujitsu.  In 
o  seconds  he  had  both  of  them  by  the  wrists,  and  then 

'  Good  people, — for  I  know  you  to  be  such, — listen  to 
r  story.  The  ex-Emperor  who  has  been  in  exile  on  this 
ind  for  nearly  a  year,  and  whom  you  have  befriended 

153  20 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

?  and  prevented  from  perishing  from  starvation  and  exposu 
\  is  not  the  real  ex-Emperor,  but  my  own  son  Furuzu 
[Taro  J ' 

Sobei  and  his  wife  looked  at  him  in  bewilderment,  a 
asked  for  an  explanation. 

'  Listen,  and  I  will  tell  you/  said  Furuzuka  Iga.  * 
the  result  of  the  revolution  in  tht  Imperial  Househo 
ex-Emperor  Shutoku  was  taken  for  the  enemy  of  1 
reigning  Emperor,  and  was  sentenced  to  exile  on  t 
island,  which  was  supposed  to  be  uninhabited,  and  is 
for  all  but  yourselves.  The  ex-Emperor  must  have  d 
had  you  not  been  here  to  support  him,  and,  though  I  ; 
attached  to  the  Imperial  Court,  I  did  not  like  one  \\ 
had  been  my  sovereign  so  to  perish.  It  was  my  di 
to  bring  the  ex-Emperor  here  and  maroon  him. 
marooned  instead  my  own  son,  who  was  very  mi 
like  him,  and  was  glad  to  take  the  ex-Emperor's  pla 
Unfortunately,  the  Mikado's  mind  became  uneasy  dur: 
the  winter,  fearing  that  so  long  as  the  ex-Emperor 
mained  alive  there  might  be  further  trouble,  and  I  ^ 
again  sent  to  Naoshima  Island,  this  time  to  bring  bi 
the  ex-Emperor's  head.  You  know  now  what  I  h; 
had  to  do.  Was  ever  a  father  called  upon  to  carry  out 
terrible  a  commission  ?  Pity  me  ;  be  not  angered.  ^ 
have  lost  your  friend,  and  I  my  son  ;  but  the  < 
Emperor  still  lives  ;  moreover,  he  knows  of  my  loya 
to  him,  and  will  be  here  shortly  in  secret  and  in  disgu 
That  is  why  I  have  remained,  and  that  is  the  whole 
the  story  I  have  to  tell  ;  and  both  of  you  must  kn 
how  deeply  grateful  I  feel  towards  you  both  in  your  gr 
kindness  to  my  son  Taro.' 

Saigyo  Hoshi's  Rock 

The  poor  samurai  bowed  to  the  ground,  and  the  old 
uple,  too  simple  to  know  what  to  do,  remained  silent, 
th  tears  of  sorrow  and  of  sympathy  streaming  down 
sir  faces. 

For  fully  half  an  hour  nothing  was  said.  They  remained 
eping  on  the  blood-stained  beach,  waiting  for  the  tide 
rise  and  wash  away  the  marks  ;  and  they  might  have  been 
iger  had  it  not  been  that  suddenly  they  heard  the  sweet 
ains  of  the  biwa  (a  musical  instrument  of  four  strings, 
ute)  Then  Iga  arose  and,  drying  his  eyes,  said,  *  Here, 
r  friends,  comes  the  real  ex-Emperor,  though  in  disguise. 
2  never  goes  anywhere  without  his  lute,  and  he  has 
;ns  and  signals  with  me  by  certain  airs  he  plays.  He 
asking  now  if  it  is  safe  to  come  forward,  and  if  I  give 
answer  it  is  safe.  Listen,  and  see  him  approach  !  ' 

Sobei  and  his  wife  had  never  listened  to  such  soft  and 
witching  music  before,  and,  hearts  full  of  sorrow,  they 

listening.  Nearer  and  nearer  the  music  came,  until 
jy  saw  coming  along  the  beach  a  man  in  poor  clothes, 
lorn  they  might  almost  have  mistaken  for  their  dead 
2nd,  so  like  was  he  to  him. 

When  he  came  nearer,  Iga  went  up  and  bowed,  and 
in  led  the  stranger  to  the  fisherman  and  his  wife,  whom 

made  known,  telling  the  ex-Emperor  what  kindness 
*y  had  shown  his  son  Taro.  The  ex-Emperor  was 
jased,  and  said  that  he  was  deeply  grateful  and  con- 
lered  them  as  part  of  that  faithful  body  who  had 
>rked  to  save  his  life.  Just  then  a  ship  was  seen  to 
and  the  point  of  the  bay.  It  was  the  ship  in  which 
a  had  arrived,  the  ship  which  had  borne  away  his  son's 
ad.  The  ex-Emperor,  followed  by  Iga,  Sobei,  and  his 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

wife,  kneeled  on  the  sand  near  the  bloody  stain,  a 
prayed  long  for  the  peace  of  the  spirit  of  Taro. 

Next  day  the  ex- Emperor  announced  his  intention 
remaining  for  the  rest  of  his  life  on  the  island  of  N; 
shima  with  Sobei  and  O  Yone.  Iga  was  taken  to  1 
mainland  by  Sobei,  and  found  his  way  back  to  the  capit 

The  ex- Emperor,  attended  by  the  faithful  old  couj 
lived  for  a  year  on  the  island.  His  time  was  passed 
playing  on  the  biwa  and  in  praying  for  the  spirit  of  Ta 
At  the  end  of  the  year  he  died  from  mournfulness.  So 
and  his  wife  devoted  all  their  spare  time  to  building 
small  shrine  to  his  memory.  It  is  said  to  be  standi 
to  this  day. 

In  the  third  year  of  Ninnan  the  famous  but  eccent 
priest  and  poet,  Saigyo,  who  was  related  to  the  Impel 
family,  spent  seventeen  days  on  the  island,  praying  ni^ 
and  day.  During  this  time  he  sat  on  the  favourite  re 
of  Taro  and  the  ex-Emperor.  The  rock  is  still  known 
'  Saigyo  iwa '  (Saigyo's  Rock). 


ME  seventy  years  ago  there  dwelt  in  Kyoto  a  celebrated 
ordmaker,  a  native  of  the  province  of  Awa,  in  Toku- 
ima.  Awanokami  Masakuni — for  such  was  his  name — 
felt  in  Kyoto  for  the  purpose  of  business,  and  because 

was  nearer  the  homes  of  the  grandees,  for  whom 
paid  him  best  to  make  swords.  With  him  lived  his 
autiful  little  daughter  Ai,  or  O  Ai  San  ('Ai '  meaning 
:>ve').  She  was  fourteen,  and  only  a  child;  but  her 
auty  was  enough  to  make  her  an  object  of  affection  to 
y  one  who  happened  to  see  her.  O  Ai  thought  of  no 
e  but  her  father,  and  of  him  she  was  extremely  fond. 

As  time  went  on  Masakuni  so  improved  in  the  art  of 
iking  swords  and  forging  blades  that  he  came  to  be 
yarded  with  much  jealousy  by  the  other  swordmakers, 

of  whom,  including  Masakuni,  lived  in  the  Karasu- 
sngu  district  of  Kyoto,  where  it  was  the  fashion  for 
pordmakers  to  dwell  in  those  days.  Alas,  the  skill  of 
[asakuni  cost  him  an  eye  !  Though  the  samurai  and 
;arers  of  swords  held  ethical  ideas  of  honour  and  Bushi 
id  to  be  far  above  the  average,  it  does  not  appear  that 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

the  swordmakers  were  the  same.  They  often  committed 
the  most  horrible  and  cowardly  crimes.  One  of  these  was 
to  put  out  either  one  or  both  of  the  eyes  of  their  sword- 
making  rivals  while  they  slept.  Thus  it  came  to  pass 
one  night  that  little  O  Ai  San  was  awakened  from  her 
sleep  by  the  piercing  cry  of  her  father,  and  found  him 
writhing  on  the  floor  in  agony,  with  his  right  eye  stabbed 
and  burst. 

O  Ai  summoned  aid  ;  but  nothing  could  save  the  eye. 
It  was  done  for  ;  and,  though  the  place  could  be  healed, 
Masakuni  must  give  up  all  idea  of  ever  having  the  use  of 
his  right  eye  again.  There  was  not  even  the  satisfaction 
of  catching  his  assailant,  for  he  did  not  know  who  it 
was.  Amid  these  circumstances  it  was  evident  that 
Masakuni  could  no  longer  remain  a  swordmaker  :  after 
the  loss  of  his  eye  it  would  be  impossible  for  him  to  carry 
out  any  of  the  fine  work  needed  to  keep  up  his  reputation. 
Consequently,  he  returned  to  his  native  village,  Ohara, 
in  the  province  of  Awa,  with  his  daughter. 

Poor  Masakuni  had  not  been  long  settled  in  his  old 
home  before  his  left  eye  began  to  feel  bad,  and  in  less 
than  a  week  there  appeared  to  be  every  chance  of  his 
losing  its  use  altogether. 

Ai  was  disconsolate.  For  her  dear  father  to  lose  the 
use  of  both  eyes  was  terrible.  She  loved  him  dearly,  and 
knew  that  his  only  remaining  pleasures  in  life  were  herself 
and  beautiful  scenery>  What  could  she  do,  poor  child  ? 
She  waited  on  him  day  and  night,  cooked,  and  was  his 
nurse.  When  she  had  exhausted  every  means  in  her 
power  to  do  good,  and  her  father's  left  eye  grew  worse, 
she  betook  herself  to  praying.  Daily  she  toiled  up  the 


How  Masakuni  regained  his  Sight 

wild  and  rocky  mountain  of  Shiratake,  near  the  summit 
of  which  there  was  a  little  shrine  dedicated  to  Fudo, 
sometimes  thought  of  as  the  God  of  Wisdom.  There, 
day  after  day,  she  prayed  that  she  might  be  led  to  the 
knowledge  that  would  cure  her  father,  and,  though  it  was 
now  the  icy  month  of  January,  after  so  doing  she  divested 
herself  of  clothing  and  stood  for  nearly  half  an  hour 
under  the  waterfall  from  which  the  mountain  takes  its 
name,  as  was  the  custom  of  all  who  wished  to  impress 
upon  the  Deity  the  earnestness  and  sincerity  of  their 

For  three  months  O  Ai  had  thus  gone  up  the  mountain 
daily  to  pray  and  undergo  the  terrible  cold  of  the  water- 
fall ;    yet  her  prayer  seemed   unanswered,  for  there  was 
no  improvement  in  her  father.     O  Ai,  however,  did  not 
lose  heart.     Towards  the  end   of  February  she  climbed 
again.     In  spite  of  the  severe  cold  (ice  was  hanging  on 
to  many  parts  of  the  rock),  O  Ai,  after  praying  to  Fudo 
San,  divested  herself  of  clothing  and  stepped  under  the 
fall,  there  to  continue  her  prayers  as  long  as  she  could 
possibly  stand  and  live.     So  great  was  the  cold,  in  a  few 
moments  she  lost  consciousness,  and   slipped  down   into 
the  basin  of  the  fall,  receiving  a  severe  blow  on  the  head. 
Just    then,    by  unusual    good    fortune,   an    old    man, 
followed  by  his  servant,  came  up  the  mountain  and  was 
looking  at  and  admiring  the  waterfall.     The  white  body 
of  O  Ai  San  caught  his  eye  while  it  was  being  churned 
in  the  basin  of  the  fall  not  thirty  feet  from  where  he 
stood.     The  old  man  and  the  servant  hastened  to  pull 
out  the  body  and  began  to  rub  it,  and  found  that  life 
was  not  extinct.     O  Ai  was  half-drowned  and  numbed, 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

insensible  from  cold  and  the  blow,  and  the  blood  was 
flowing  freely  from  the  wound. 

They  made  up  their  minds  to  save  this  beautiful  girl, 
and  set  to  with  vigour.  A  fire  was  lit  ;  her  clothes  were 
warmed  and  put  on  ;  and  in  less  than  twenty  minutes 
she  had  opened  her  eyes  and  was  able  to  speak.  Seeing 
this,  the  old  man  asked  : 

4  Is  it  by  accident  we  find  you  thus  nearly  dead,  or 
have  you  tried  to  take  your  own  life  ? ' 

'  No/  said  the  girl  :  *  it  is  not  that  I  wish  to  take  my 
own  life.  It  is  to  save  the  eyesight  of  my  father  that  I 
have  come  here  to  pray  ;  this  is  the  hundredth  day  of  my 
prayer.  To-morrow  and  every  following  day  I  shall  be 
here  to  pray  again,  and  so  continue  ;  for  it  is  against  the 
teachings  of  Buddha  to  despair.'  O  Ai  then  related  the 
history  of  her  father's  blindness. 

The  old  man,  answering,  said  : 

'  If  devotion  to  duty  has  its  reward,  yours,  young  lady, 
has  come.  Perhaps  you  are  not  aware  who  I  am.  My 
name  is  Uozumi,  Dr.  Uozumi.  I  am  the  chief  doctor  in 
Kyoto,  and  am  the  only  one  at  present  who  has  passed 
his  full  degrees  in  the  Medical  Sciences  of  the  Dutch. 
I  have  just  been  to  the  Palace  at  Yedo,  and  am  now 
on  my  return  to  Kyoto.  I  have  only  put  in  here  with 
my  ship  for  to-day,  and  have  come  up  this  mountain  to 
admire  the  scenery.  Now  I  have  found  you,  and  so 
grieve  with  you  in  your  trouble  that  I  will  stay  here  a 
week  or  two  and  see  what  can  be  done  for  your  father. 
Do  not  let  us  lose  time  :  put  on  the  rest  of  your  clothes, 
and  let  us  go  to  your  house.' 

O  Ai  San  was  delighted.  At  last,  she  thought,  her 

1 60 

How  Masakuni  regained  his  Sight 

prayer  had  been  answered  by  Fudo  San.  With  joy  in 
her  heart,  she  almost  ran  down  the  mountain,  forgetting 
all  about  her  own  narrow  escape  and  the  long  gash  she 
had  received  in  her  head.  Dr.  Uozumi  found  it  hard  to 
keep  anywhere  near  this  healthy  young  maid. 

Arrived  at  the  house,  Uozumi  made  an  examination 
of  the  patient  and  ordered  remedies  after  the  Dutch 
prescriptions,  the  medicines  for  which  he  fortunately  had 
with  him.  Day  after  day  the  doctor  and  O  Ai  attended 
on  Masakuni,  and  at  the  end  of  the  tenth  day  his  left 
eye  was  perfectly  cured. 

Masakuni  was  delighted  at  the  partial  recovery  of  his 
sight,  and,  like  his  daughter,  attributed  the  good  fortune 
of  the  celebrated  doctor's  arrival  to  the  mercy  of  Fudo 
San.  Having  purified  his  body  and  soul  by  living  on  a 
vegetable  diet  and  bathing  in  cold  water  for  ten  days,  he 
began  making  two  swords,  which  some  time  afterwards 
he  finished.  One  he  presented  to  the  god  Fudo,  and  the 
other  to  Doctor  Uozumi.  They  were  afterwards  known 
as  the  celebrated  swords  made  by  the  semi-blind  Masakuni. 

The  doctor  thought  it  a  pity  to  allow  such  a  skilled 
artist  as  Masakuni  to  remain  in  this  remote  village  of 
Awa  Province,  and  also  that  the  beautiful  O  Ai  should 
be  allowed  to  rust  there  :  so  he  persuaded  them  to  join 
him  in  Kyoto.  Subsequently  he  obtained  a  place  as  maid 
of  honour  in  the  palace  of  the  Duke  of  Karasumaru  for 
O  Ai  San,  where  she  was  perfectly  happy. 

Five  years  later  Masakuni  died,  and  was  buried  in  the 
cemetery  of  Toribeyama,  at  the  eastern  end  of  Kyoto. 
So  my  story-teller,  Fukuga,  tells  me. 

161  21 


HATSUSHIMA  ISLAND  is  probably  unknown  to  all 
foreigners,  and  to  9999  out  of  every  10,000  Japanese  ; 
consequently,  it  is  of  not  much  importance.  Nevertheless, 
it  has  produced  quite  a  romantic  little  story,  which  was 
told  to  me  by  a  friend  who  had  visited  there  some  six 
years  before. 

The  island  is  about  seven  miles  south-east  of  Atami, 
in  Sagami  Bay  (Izu  Province).  It  is  so  far  isolated  from 
the  mainland  that  very  little  intercourse  goes  on  with  the 
outer  world.  Indeed,  it  is  said  that  the  inhabitants  of 
Hatsushima  Island  are  a  queer  people,  and  prefer  keeping 
to  themselves.  Even  to-day  there  are  only  some  two 
hundred  houses,  and  the  population  cannot  exceed  a 
thousand.  The  principal  production  of  the  island  is,  of 
course,  fish  ;  but  it  is  celebrated  also  for  its  jonquil  flowers 
(suisenn).  Thus  it  will  be  seen  that  there  is  hardly  any 
trade.  What  little  the  people  buy  from  or  sell  to  the 
mainland  they  carry  in  their  own  fishing -boats.  In 
matrimony  also  they  keep  to  themselves,  and  are  generally 
conservative  and  all  the  better  for  it. 



Sagami   Bay 

There  is  a  well-known  fisherman's  song  of  Hatsushima 
Island.  It  means  something  like  the  following,  and  it  is 
of  the  origin  of  that  queer  verse  that  the  story  is  : — 

To-day  is  the  tenth  of  June.     May  the  rain  fall  in  torrents  ! 
For  I  long  to  see  my  dearest  O  Cho  San. 
Hi,  Hi,  Ya-re-ko-no-sa  !     Ya-re-ko-no-sa  ! 

Many  years  ago  there  lived  on  the  island  the  daughter 
of  a  fisherman  whose  beauty  even  as  a  child  was  extra- 
ordinary. As  she  grew,  Cho — for  such  was  her  name — 
improved  in  looks,  and,  in  spite  of  her  lowly  birth,  she 
had  the  manners  and  refinement  of  a  lady.  At  the  age 
of  eighteen  there  was  not  a  young  man  on  the  island 
who  was  not  in  love  with  her.  All  were  eager  to  seek 
her  hand  in  marriage  ;  but  hardly  any  dared  to  ask, 
even  through  the  medium  of  a  third  party,  as  was 

Amongst  them  was  a  handsome  fisherman  of  about 
twenty  years  whose  name  was  Shinsaku.  Being  less  simple 
than  the  rest,  and  a  little  more  bold,  he  one  day  approached 
Gisuke,  O  Cho's  brother,  on  the  subject.  Gisuke  could 
see  nothing  against  his  sister  marrying  Shinsaku  ;  indeed, 
he  rather  liked  Shinsaku  ;  and  their  families  had  always 
been  friends.  So  he  called  his  sister  O  Cho  down  to  the 
beach,  where  they  were  sitting,  and  told  her  that  Shinsaku 
had  proposed  for  her  hand  in  marriage,  and  that  he 
thought  it  an  excellent  match,  of  which  her  mother  would 
have  approved  had  she  been  alive.  He  added  :  *  You 
must  marry  soon,  you  know.  You  are  eighteen,  and  we 
want  no  spinsters  on  Hatsushima,  or  girls  brought  here 
from  the  mainland  to  marry  our  bachelors/ 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

*  Stay,  stay,  my  dear  brother  !  I  do  not  want  all  this 
sermon  on  spinsterhood,'  cried  O  Cho.  *  I  have  no 
intention  of  remaining  single,  I  can  tell  you  ;  and  as  for 
Shinsaku  I  would  rather  marry  him  than  any  one  else — 
so  do  not  worry  yourself  further  on  that  account.  Settle 
the  day  of  the  happy  event.1 

Needless  to  say,  young  Gisuke  was  delighted,  and  so 
was  Shinsaku  ;  and  they  settled  that  the  marriage  should 
be  three  days  thence. 

Soon,  when  all  the  fishing-boats  had  returned  to  the 
village,  the  news  spread  ;  and  it  would  be  difficult  to  des- 
cribe the  state  of  the  younger  men's  feelings.  Hitherto 
every  one  had  hoped  to  win  the  pretty  O  Cho  San  ;  all 
had  lived  in  that  happy  hope,  and  rejoiced  in  the  uncertain 
state  of  love,  which  causes  such  happiness  in  its  early  stages. 
Shinsaku  had  hitherto  been  a  general  favourite.  Now  the 
whole  of  their  hopes  were  dashed  to  the  ground.  O  Cho 
was  not  for  any  of  them.  As  for  Shinsaku,  how  they 
suddenly  hated  him  !  What  was  to  be  done  ?  they  asked 
one  another,  little  thinking  of  the  comical  side,  or  that  in 
any  case  O  Cho  could  marry  only  one  of  them. 

No  attention  was  paid  to  the  fish  they  had  caught  ; 
their  boats  were  scarcely  pulled  high  enough  on  the  beach 
for  safety  ;  their  minds  were  wholly  given  to  the  question 
how  each  and  every  one  of  them  could  marry  O  Cho  San. 
First  of  all,  it  was  decided  to  tell  Shinsaku  that  they 
would  prevent  his  marriage  if  possible.  There  were 
several  fights  on  the  quiet  beach,  which  had  never  before 
been  disturbed  by  a  display  of  ill-feeling.  At  last  Gisuke, 
O  Cho's  brother,  consulted  with  his  sister  and  Shinsaku  ; 
and  they  decided,  for  the  peace  of  the  island,  to  break 


Sagami  Bay 

off  the  marriage,  O  Cho  and  her  lover  determining  that 
at  all  events  they  would  marry  no  one  else. 

However,  even  this  great  sacrifice  had  no  effect.  There 
were  fully  thirty  men  ;  in  fact,  the  whole  of  the  bachelors 
wanted  to  marry  O  Cho  ;  they  fought  daily  ;  the  whole 
island  was  thrown  into  a  discontent.  Poor  O  Cho  San  ! 
What  could  she  do  ?  Had  not  she  and  Shinsaku  done 
enough  already  in  sacrificing  happiness  for  the  peace  of 
the  island?  There  was  only  one  more  thing  she  could 
do,  and,  being  a  Japanese  girl,  she  did  it.  She  wrote  two 
letters,  one  to  her  brother  Gisuke,  another  to  Shinsaku, 
bidding  'them  farewell.  '  The  island  of  Hatsushima  has 
never  had  trouble  until  I  was  born/  she  said.  '  For  three 
hundred  years  or  more  our  people,  though  poor,  have 
lived  happily  and  in  peace.  Alas  !  now  it  is  no  longer  so, 
on  account  of  me.  Farewell  !  I  shall  be  dead.  Tell  our 
people  that  I  have  died  to  bring  them  back  their  senses, 
for  they  have  been  foolish  about  me.  Farewell ! ' 

After  leaving  the  two  letters  where  Gisuke  slept,  O 
Cho  slipped  stealthily  out  of  the  house  (it  was  a  pouring- 
wet  and  stormy  night  and  the  loth  of  June),  and  cast 
herself  into  the  sea  from  some  rocks  near  her  cottage, 
after  well  loading  her  sleeves  with  stones,  so  that  she  might 
rise  no  more. 

Next  morning,  when  Gisuke  found  the  letters,  instinc- 
tively he  knew  what  must  have  happened,  and  rushed  from 
the  house  to  find  Shinsaku.  Brother  and  lover  read  their 
letters  together,  and  were  stricken  with  grief,  as,  indeed, 
was  every  one  else.  A  search  was  made,  and  soon  O  Cho's 
straw  slippers  were  found  on  the  point  of  rocks  near  her 
house.  Gisuke  knew  she  must  have  jumped  into  the  sea 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

here,  and  he  and  Shinsaku  dived  down  and  found  her  body 
lying  at  the  bottom.  They  brought  it  to  the  surface,  and 
it  was  buried  just  beyond  the  rocks  on  which  she  had  last 

From  that  day  Shinsaku  was  unable  to  sleep  at  night. 
The  poor  fellow  was  quite  distracted.  O  Cho's  letter  and 
straw  slippers  he  placed  beside  his  bed  and  surrounded 
them  with  flowers.  His  days  he  spent  decorating  and 
weeping  over  her  tomb. 

At  last  one  evening  Shinsaku  resolved  to  make  away 
with  his  own  body,  hoping  that  his  spirit  might  find  O 
Cho ;  and  he  wandered  towards  her  tomb  to  take  a  last 
farewell.  As  he  did  so  he  thought  he  saw  O  Cho,  and  called 
her  aloud  three  or  four  times,  and  then  with  outstretched 
arms  he  rushed  delightedly  at  her.  The  noise  awoke  Gisuke, 
whose  house  was  close  to  the  grave.  He  came  out,  and 
found  Shinsaku  clasping  the  stone  pillar  which  was  placed 
at  its  head. 

Shinsaku  explained  that  he  had  seen  the  spirit  of  O 
Cho,  and  that  he  was  about  to  follow  her  by  taking  his 
life  ;  but  from  this  he  was  dissuaded. 

4  Do  not  do  that ;  devote  your  life,  rather,  and  I  will 
help  with  you  in  building  a  shrine  dedicated  to  Cho.  You 
will  join  her  when  you  die  by  nature  ;  but  please  her 
spirit  here  by  never  marrying  another.' 

Shinsaku  promised.  The  young  men  of  the  place  now 
began  to  be  deeply  sorry  for  Shinsaku.  What  selfish 
beasts  they  had  been !  they  thought.  However,  they 
would  mend  their  ways,  and  spend  all  their  spare  time  in 
building  a  shrine  to  O  Cho  San  ;  and  this  they  did.  The 
shrine  is  called  '  The  Shrine  of  O  Cho  San  of  Hatsushima,' 

1 66 

Sagami   Bay 

and  a  ceremony  is  held  there  every  lothof  June.  Curious 
to  relate,  it  invariably  rains  on  that  day,  and  the  fishermen 
say  that  the  spirit  of  O  Cho  comes  in  the  rain.  Hence 
the  song  : — 

To-day  is  the  tenth  of  June.     May  the  rain  fall  in  torrents  ! 
For  I  long  to  see  my  dearest  O  Cho  San. 
Hi,  Hi,  Ya-re-ko-no-sa  !      Ya-re-ko-no-sa  ! 

The  shrine  still  stands,  I  am  told. 


MANY  years  ago  there  lived  a  Daimio  called  Tarao. 
His  castle  and  home  were  at  Osaki,  in  Osumi  Province, 
and  amongst  his  retinue  was  a  faithful  and  favourite 
servant  whose  name  was  Kume  Shuzen.  Kume  had 
long  been  land-steward  to  the  Lord  Tarao,  and  indeed 
acted  for  him  in  everything  connected  with  business. 

One  day  Kume  had  been  despatched  to  the  capital, 
Kyoto,  to  attend  to  business  for  his  master,  when  the 
Daimio  Toshiro  of  Hyuga  quarrelled  with  the  Daimio 
of  Osumi  over  some  boundary  question,  and,  Kume  not 
being  there  to  help  his  master,  who  was  a  hasty  person, 
the  two  clans  fought  at  the  foot  of  Mount  Kitamata. 

1  It  is  impossible  to  say  exactly  to  which  of  the  Torijima  islands  this  story  relates. 
There  are  two — one  a  rock  islet  some  sixty  miles  east  of  Okinawajima,  the  main  island  on 
which  is  the  capital  of  all  the  islands,  Nafa  j  and  the  other  or  larger  Torijima,  between 
longitude  128°  and  129°,  and  not  far  south  of  latitudinal  line  38°.  My  story-teller  declares 
the  tale  to  be  about  the  Rocky  Island  South,  which  charts  show  as  60  feet  above  water 
at  high  tide,  by  reason  of  there  being  an  island  adjacent  called  Kumeshima  ,•  while  I 
argue  that  it  is  more  probably  about  the  northern  Tcrijima,  adjacent  to  which  is  a 
large  island  named  Takuneshima,  which  might  very  well  have  been  meant  for 
Kumeshima.  With  Japanese,  Chinese,  and  English  names,  these  islands  are  very 
puzzling.  The  Japanese,  though  excellent  map-makers,  are  bad  geographers,  changing 
names  as  they  think  fit. 



The  King  of  Torijima 

The  Lord  Tarao  of  Osumi  was  killed,  and  so  were  most 
of  his  men.  They  were  most  completely  beaten.  The 
survivors  retired  to  their  lord's  castle  at  Osaki ;  but  the 
enemy  followed  them  up,  and  again  defeated  them,  taking 
the  castle. 

Messengers  had  been  despatched  to  bring  back  Kume, 
of  course  ;  but  Kume  decided  that  there  was  only  one 
honourable  thing  to  do,  and  that  was  to  gather  the  few 
remaining  samurai  he  could  and  fight  again  in  his  dead 
master's  behalf.  Unfortunately,  only  some  fifty  men 
came  to  his  call.  These,  with  Kume,  hid  in  the 
mountains  with  the  intention  of  waiting  until  they  had 
recruited  more.  One  of  Toshiro's  spies  found  this  out, 
and  all  except  Kume  were  taken  prisoners. 

Being  hotly  pursued,  Kume  hid  himself  in  the  daytime, 
and  made  for  the  sea  by  night.  After  three  days  he 
reached  Hizaki,  and  there,  having  bought  all  the 
provision  he  could  carry,  hid  himself  until  an  opportunity 
should  come  of  seizing  a  boat  in  the  darkness,  hoping 
to  baffle  his  pursuers. 

Kume  was  no  sailor ;  in  fact,  he  had  hardly  ever  been 
in  a  boat,  and  never  except  as  a  passenger.  There  was 
no  difficulty  in  finding  a  boat.  He  pushed  it  off  and  let 
it  drift,  for  he  could  not  use  the  oar,  and  understood 
nothing  about  a  sail.  Fortunately,  Hizaki  is  a  long 
cape  on  the  S.E.  coast,  facing  the  open  Pacific,  and 
therefore  there  was  no  difficulty  in  getting  away,  the  wind 
being  favourable  and  the  tide  as  well ;  besides,  there  is 
here  a  strong  current  always  travelling  south  towards  the 
Loochoos.  Kume  was  more  or  less  indifferent  as  to 
where  he  went,  and  even  if  he  had  cared  he  could  not 

169  22 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

have  helped  himself,  for,  though  his  knowledge  of 
direction  on  land  was  very  good,  as  soon  as  he  found 
himself  out  of  sight  of  land  he  was  lost.  All  he  knew 
was  that  where  the  sun  rose  there  was  no  land  which 
he  could  reach,  that  China  lay  in  the  direction  in  which 
it  set,  and  that  to  the  south  there  were  islands  which  were 
reputed  to  hold  savages,  Nambanjin  (foreign  southern 
savages).  Thus  Kume  drifted  on,  he  knew  not  whither, 
lying  in  the  bottom  of  the  boat,  and  in  no  way  economis- 
ing his  provisions  ;  and  it  naturally  came  to  pass  that 
at  the  end  of  the  second  day  he  had  no  water  left,  and 
suffered  much  in  consequence. 

Towards  morning  on  the  fifth  day  Kume  lay  half- 
asleep  in  the  bottom  of  the  boat.  Suddenly  he  felt  it 

4  What  ho,  she  bumps  ! '  said  he  to  himself  in  his 
native  tongue,  and,  sitting  up,  he  found  he  had  drifted 
on  to  a  rocky  island.  Kume  was  not  long  in  scrambling 
ashore  and  dragging  his  boat  as  high  as  he  was  able. 
The  first  thing  he  set  about  doing  was  to  find  water  to 
quench  his  thirst.  As  he  wandered  along  the  rocky  shore 
hunting  for  a  stream,  Kume  knew  that  the  island  could  not 
be  inhabited,  for  there  were  tens  of  thousands  of  sea- 
fowl  perched  upon  the  rocks,  feeding  along  the  beach 
and  floating  on  the  water ;  others  were  sitting  on 
eggs.  Kume  could  see  that  he  was  not  likely  to  starve 
while  the  birds  were  breeding,  and  he  could  see,  more- 
over, that  fish  were  there  in  abundance,  for  birds  of  the 
gannet  species  were  simply  gorging  themselves  with  a 
kind  of  iwashi  (sardine),  which  made  the  surface  of 
the  calm  sea  frizzle  into  foam  in  their  endeavours  to 


The  King  of  Torijima 

escape  the  larger  fish  that  were  pursuing  them  from 
underneath.  Shoals  of  flying -fish  came  quite  close  to 
shore,  pursued  by  the  magnificent  albacore ;  which 
clearly  showed  that  fishermen  did  not  visit  these  parts. 
Shell-fish  were  in  plenty  in  the  coral  pools,  and  among 
them  lay,  thickly  strewn,  the  smaller  of  the  pearl  mussels 
with  which  Kume  was  familiar  in  his  own  country. 

There  was  no  sand  on  this  island — that  is  to  say,  on 
the  seashore.  Everything  seemed  to  be  of  coral  formation, 
except  that  there  was  a  thick  reddish  substance  on  the 
top  of  all,  out  of  which  grew  low  scrubby  trees  bearing 
many  fruits,  which  Kume  found  quite  excellent  to  eat. 
There  was  no  trouble  in  finding  water  :  there  were  several 
streams  flowing  down  the  beach  and  coming  from  the 
thick  scrub. 

Kume  returned  to  his  boat,  to  make  sure  that  it  was 
safe,  and,  having  found  a  better  cove  for  it,  he  moved  it 
thither.  Then,  having  eaten  some  more  fruit  and  shell- 
fish and  seaweed,  Kume  lay  down  to  sleep,  and  to  think 
of  his  dead  master,  and  wonder  how  he  could  eventually 
avenge  him  on  the  Daimio  Toshiro  of  Hyuga. 

When  morning  broke  Kume  was  not  a  little  surprised 
to  see  some  eight  or  nine  figures  of  people,  as  he  first 
thought,  sleeping  ;  but  when  it  grew  lighter  he  found 
that  they  were  turtles,  and  it  was  not  long  before  he  was 
on  shore  and  had  turned  one  ;  but  then,  recollecting  that 
there  was  plenty  of  food  without  taking  the  life  of  a 
beast  so  much  venerated,  he  let  it  go.  '  Perhaps,'  thought 
he,  *  like  Urashima,  my  kindness  to  the  turtle  may  save 
me.  Indeed,  these  turtles  may  be  messengers  or  retainers 
of  the  Sea  King's  Palace  ! ' 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

One  thing  that  Kume  now  decided  was  to  learn  to 
row  and  sail  his  boat.  He  set  to  that  very  morning, 
and  almost  mastered  the  art  of  using  the  immense  sculling 
oar  used  by  present  and  ancient  Japanese  alike.  In  the 
afternoon  he  visited  the  highest  part  of  his  island  ;  but 
it  was  not  high  enough  to  enable  him  to  see  land,  though 
he  thought  at  one  time  that  he  could  discern  that  faint 
line  of  blue  on  the  horizon  which  prophesies  distant  land. 

However,  he  was  safe  for  the  time  ;  he  had  food  in 
plenty,  and  water  ;  true,  the  birds  somewhat  bothered 
him,  for  they  did  not  act  as  might  have  been  expected. 
There  seemed  something  uncanny  in  the  way  they  sat 
on  their  perches  and  watched  him.  He  did  not  like  that, 
and  often  threw  a  stone  at  them  ;  but  even  that  had 
little  effect — they  only  seemed  to  look  more  serious. 

Though  Kume  was  no  sailor,  he  was  a  good  enough 
swimmer,  as  are  most  Japanese  who  live  anywhere  along 
the  sea  provinces,  and  he  was  quite  able  to  dive  in 
moderation  and  up  to  a  depth  of  three  Japanese  fathoms 
— fifteen  feet.  Thus  it  was  that  Kume  spent  all  the 
time  he  was  not  practising  in  his  boat  in  diving  for  shell- 
fish ;  he  soon  found  that  there  were  enormous  quantities 
of  pearl  oysters,  which  contained  beautiful  pearls  ;  and, 
having  collected  some  fifty  or  sixty,  large  and  small,  he 
cut  one  of  the  sleeves  of  his  coat  and  made  a  bag  which 
he  determined  to  fill.  One  day  while  Kume  was  diving 
about  after  his  pearls  and  shell-fish,  he  found  that  by 
looking  in  the  holes  of  rocks  beneath  the  low-tide  level 
he  could  find  pearls  that  had  fallen  from  the  dead  and 
rotten  shells  above  ;  in  one  case  they  were  like  gravel, 
and  he  took  them  out  of  a  cavity  by  handfuls.  Dis- 


The  King  of  Torijima 

coloured  they  certainly  were  ;  but  Kume  knew  them  from 
their  roundness  of  shape,  and  rubbing  with  sand  or  earth 
soon  proved  them  to  be  pearls.  Thus  it  was  that  he 
worked  with  renewed  energy,  hoping  all  the  time  to 
make  sufficient  money  to  be  able  eventually  to  avenge 
his  dead  master. 

One  day,  some  six  weeks  after  he  had  landed  on  the 
island,  he  saw  a  distant  sail.  Through  the  day  he 
watched  it  carefully  ;  but  it  did  not  seem  to  come  or  go 
much  nearer,  and  Kume  came  to  the  conclusion  that  it 
must  be  the  sail  of  a  stationary  fishing-boat,  for  there 
was  breeze  enough  to  have  taken  it  ofF  out  of  sight  twice 
over  since  he  had  watched,  if  it  had  wanted  to  go. 

'  Surely  there  must  be  land  somewhere  over  there 
beyond  the  boat  :  it  would  not  be  there  for  half  a  day 
if  not.  To-morrow,  now  that  I  can  manage  to  sail  and 
row  my  boat,  I  will  start  on  an  expedition  and  see.  I  do 
not  expect  to  find  my  own  countrymen  there  ;  but  I  may 
find  Chinese  who  may  be  friendly,  and  if  I  find  the 
southern  savages  I  shall  not,  with  my  good  Japanese 
sword,  be  afraid  of  them  ! ' 

Next  morning  Kume  provisioned  his  boat  with  fruit, 
water,  shell-fish,  and  eggs,  and,  tying  his  bag  of  pearls 
about  him,  set  sail  in  a  south-westerly  direction.  There 
was  little  wind,  and  the  boat  went  slowly  ;  but  Kume 
steered  steadily  all  night,  as  was  natural,  considering  the 
little  he  knew.  He  dared  not  go  to  sleep  and  thus 
perhaps  lose  all  idea  of  the  direction  whence  he  had 
come.  Thus  it  came  that  when  morning  broke  the 
sun  rose  on  his  port  side,  and  he  found  himself  not 
more  than  some  four  miles  from  an  island  which  lay 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

right  ahead  of  him.  Quite  elated  with  his  first  success 
in  navigation,  Kume  seized  his  oars  and  helped  the  boat 
along.  On  reaching  the  land  his  reception  was  anything 
but  pleasant.  At  least  one  hundred  angry  savages  were 
on  the  beach  with  spears  and  staves  ;  but  what  were  they 
(as  my  translator  asks)  to  a  Japanese  samurai  ?  Fifteen 
of  them  were  put  out  of  action  without  his  getting  a 
scratch,  for  Kume  was  well  up  in  all  the  defensive  arts 
that  his  military  training  had  given  him,  and  the  tricks 
in  jujitsu  were  familiar  to  him. 

The  rest  of  his  adversaries  became  frightened  and 
began  to  run.  Kume  caught  one  of  them,  and  tried  to 
ask  what  island  this  was,  and  what  kind  of  people  they 
were.  By  signs  he  explained  that  he  was  a  Japanese  and 
in  no  way  an  enemy,  but  on  the  contrary  wished  to  be 
friendly,  and,  as  they  could  see,  he  was  alone.  Greatly 
impressed  with  Kume's  prowess,  and  glad  that  he  did  not 
wish  to  resume  hostilities,  the  natives  stuck  their  spears 
point-downwards  in  the  sand,  and  came  forward  to  Kume, 
who  sheathed  his  sword  and  proceeded  to  examine  the 
fifteen  men  he  had  laid  low.  Eleven  of  these  had  fallen 
by  some  clever  jujitsu  trick,  and  were  to  all  intents  and 
purposes  dead  ;  but  Kume  took  them  in  various  ways  and 
restored  them  to  life  by  a  well-known  art  called  kwatsu 
(really  artificial  breathing),  which  has  been  practised  in 
Japan  for  hundreds  of  years  in  connection  with  some 
secret  jujitsu  tricks  which  are  said  to  kill  you — unless 
some  one  is  present  who  knows  the  art  of  kwatsu  you 
must  die  if  left  for  over  two  hours  without  being  restored. 
At  present  it  is  illegal  to  kill  temporarily  even  though 
you  know  the  art  of  kwatsu.  Kume  restored  nine  of  his 


The  King  of  Torijima 

fallen  enemies,  which  in  itself  was  considered  to  be  a 
marvellous  performance,  and  gained  him  much  respect. 
Two  others  were  dead.  The  rest  had  wounds  from 
which  they  recovered. 

Peace  being  established,  Kume  was  escorted  by  the 
chief  to  the  village  and  given  a  hut  to  himself,  and  he 
found  the  people  kind  and  agreeable.  A  wife  was  given 
to  him,  and  Kume  settled  down  to  the  life  of  the  island, 
and  to  learn  the  language,  which  in  many  ways  resembled 
his  own. 

Sugar  and  yams  were  the  principal  things  planted, — 
with,  of  course,  rice  in  the  hills  and  where  there  was 
sufficient  water  for  terracing,  —  but  fishing  formed  the 
principal  occupation  of  all.  Four  or  five  times  a-year 
the  islanders  were  visited  by  a  junk  which  bought  their 
produce,  and  exchanged  things  they  wanted  for  it — such 
as  beds,  iron  rods,  calico,  and  salt.  After  three  months' 
residence  Kume  was  able  to  talk  the  language  a  little,  and 
had  managed  to  narrate  his  adventures  ;  moreover,  he  had 
explained  that  the  island  from  which  he  had  sailed — he 
had  named  it  Torijima,1  on  account  of  the  birds  there 
— was  a  far  better  island  than  their  own  for  all  marine 
produce.  *  Do,  my  friends/  said  Kume,  '  accompany 
me  over  there  and  see.  I  have  shown  you  my  pearls. 
I  am  not  much  of  a  diver  ;  but,  for  those  that  are  divers 
there  are  as  many  as  you  can  wish — also  sea-slugs,  beche- 
de-mer,  and  namako  of  the  very  best  kinds/ 

'Do  you  know  that  the  island  which  you  call  "Tori" 
is  bewitched  ? '  they  asked.  '  It  is  impossible  to  go  there, 
for  there  is  a  gigantic  bird  which  comes  twice  a-year  and 

1  Tori-bird  Island. 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

kills  all  men  who  have  ventured  to  land.  It  could  not 
have  been  there  when  you  were,  or  you  could  not  have 
lived  a  day/ 

{  Well,  my  friends,'  said  Kume,  *  I  am  not  afraid  of  a 
bird,  and,  as  you  have  been  very  kind  to  me,  I  should 
like  to  show  you  my  Torijima,  for,  though  small,  it  is 
better  than  your  island  for  all  the  things  which  come  from 
the  sea,  and  you  would  say  so  if  you  came.  Please  say 
that  some  of  you  will  accompany  me/ 

At  last  thirty  men  said  they  would  go  ;  that  would  be 
three  boat-loads  of  them. 

Accordingly,  next  evening  they  started,  and,  as  the 
direction  was  well  known  to  the  Loochooans,  they  reached 
the  shores  of  Torijima  just  as  the  sun  arose. 

Kume's  boat  arrived  first.  Though  he  had  been  fully 
warned  of  the  great  bird  which  must  have  been  absent 
when  he  was  in  the  island,  Kume  landed  alone,  and  was 
proceeding  up  the  shore  when  an  immense  eagle  with  a 
body  larger  than  his  own  swept  down  on  him  and  began 
to  fight.  Kume,  being  a  Japanese,  immediately  cut  the 
monster  in  half. 

From  that  day  Torijima  has  been  settled  on  by  fisher- 
men, and  has  afforded  more  pearls^  coral,  and  fish  than 
the  other,  which  they  named  Kumijima,  and  sometimes 
Shuzen  shima  (both  being  his  names)  ;  moreover,  Kume 
Shuzen  was  made  the  king  of  both  islands.  Kume 
never  got  back  to  Japan  to  avenge  his  master  the  Lord 
Tarao.  Indeed,  he  was  better  off  than  he  had  ever  been 
before,  and  lived  a  happy  life  on  the  two  wild  Loochoo 
islands,  which  had  not  yet  come  under  the  Chinese  rule, 
being  too  small  to  be  thought  of. 


The  King  of  Torijima 

After  some  fifteen  years  Kume  died  and  was  buried  on 
Kumijima.  My  story-teller  says  that  those  who  visit 
the  Loochoos  and  pass  Kumijima  will  notice  from  the 
sea  a  monument  erected  to  Kume  Shuzen. 



BETWEEN  the  north-eastern  boundary  of  Totomi  Province 
and  the  north-western  of  Suruga  Province  stands  a  lofty 
mountain,  Daimugenzan.  It  is  a  wild  and  rugged  moun- 
tain, clad  nearly  three-quarters  up  with  lofty  pines,  yenoki, 
icho,  camphors,  etc.  There  are  but  few  paths,  and  hardly 
any  one  goes  up  the  hill.  About  half-way  up  through 
the  forest  is  a  shrine  erected  to  Kwannon  ;  but  it  is 
so  small  that  no  priest  lives  there,  and  the  building  is 
rotting  away.  No  one  knows  why  it  was  put  up  in  such 
an  inaccessible  place — except,  perhaps,  one  solitary  girl 
and  her  parents,  who  used  to  go  there  for  some  reason 
of  their  own. 

One  day,  about  1107  A.D.,  the  girl  was  praying  for  her 
mother's  recovery  from  sickness.  Okureha  was  her  name. 
She  lived  at  Tashiro,  at  the  foot  of  the  mountain,  and  was 
the  beauty  of  the  countryside, — the  daughter  of  a  much- 
loved  samurai  of  some  importance.  Amid  the  solemn 
silence  Okureha  clapped  her  hands  thrice  before  Kwannon 
as  she  prayed,  causing  mountain  echoes  to  resound. 
Having  finished  her  prayers,  Okureha  began  to  make  her 



The  Perpetual  Life-Giving  Wine 

way  downwards,  when  she  was  suddenly  sprung  upon  by 
a  ruffianly-looking  man,  who  seized  her  by  the  arm. 

She  cried  aloud  for  help  ;  but  nothing  came  except 
the  echoes  of  her  voice,  and  she  gave  herself  up  for 

Suddenly  a  piercing  cold  breeze  came  along,  carrying 
the  autumn  leaves  in  little  columns.  Okureha  struggled 
violently  with  her  assailant,  who  seemed  to  weaken  to  the 
cold  wind  as  it  struck  his  face.  Okureha  weakened  too. 
In  a  few  seconds  the  man  fell  down  as  in  a  drunken  sleep, 
and  she  was  on  the  point  of  falling  (she  knew  not  why) 
and  of  sleeping  (scarce  could  she  keep  her  eyes  open). 
Just  then  the  wind  came  hot  instead  of  cold,  and  she  felt 
herself  awake  again.  On  looking  up  she  saw  advancing 
towards  her  a  beautiful  girl,  apparently  not  many  years 
older  than  herself.  The  stranger  was  dressed  in  white, 
and  seemed  to  glide.  Her  face  was  white  as  the  snow 
which  capped  Mount  Daimugenzan  ;  her  brows  were 
crescent-shaped,  like  those  of  Buddha  ;  her  mouth  was 
like  flowers.  In  a  silvery  voice  she  called  to  Okureha, 
saying  : 

'  Be  neither  surprised  nor  afraid,  my  child.  I  saw  that 
you  were  in  danger,  and  I  came  to  your  rescue  by  putting 
that  savage  creature  to  sleep  ;  I  sent  the  warm  breeze  so 
that  you  might  not  fall.  You  need  not  fear  that  the  man 
is  dead.  I  can  revive  him  if  I  choose,  or  keep  him  as  he 
is  if  I  wish.  What  is  your  name  ? ' 

Okureha  fell  on  her  knees  to  express  her  thanks, 
and,  rising,  said  :  c  My  name  is  Okureha.  My  father  is 
the  samurai  who  owns  the  greater  part  of  the  village  of 
Tashiro,  at  the  foot  of  the  mountain.  My  mother  being 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

ill,  I  have  come  up  to  this  old  shrine  to  pray  Kwannon 
for  her  recovery.  Five  times  have  I  been  up  before,  but 
never  met  any  one  until  to-day,  when  this  dreadful  man 
attacked  me.  I  owe  my  deliverance  entirely  to  you,  holy 
lady,  and  I  am  humbly  and  deeply  grateful.  I  do  hope 
I  shall  be  able  to  come  here  and  pray  at  this  shrine  again. 
My  father  and  mother  prayed  here  before  I  was  born  both 
to  Kwannon  and  to  the  Tennin l  of  the  mountain.  They 
had  no  child,  and  I  was  sent  to  them  after  their  prayers. 
Therefore  it  is  right  that  I  should  come  here  to  pray  for 
my  mother  ;  but  this  horrid  man  has  frightened  me  so 
that  I  shall  be  afraid  to  come  alone  again.' 

The  Mountain  Goddess  (for  such  was  Okureha's 
rescuer)  smiled,  and  said  :  c  You  need  have  no  fear,  my 
pretty  child.  Come  here  when  you  will,  and  I  shall  be 
your  protector.  Children  who  are  as  devoted  to  their 
parents  as  you  are  deserve  all  that  is  good,  and  are  holy 
in  themselves.  If  you  wish  to  please  me,  come  again 
to-morrow,  so  that  we  may  converse  ;  and  bring  me  some 
flowers  from  the  fields,  for  I  never  descend  low  enough 
on  earth  to  get  these,  though  they  are  my  favourites — 
they  smell  so  sweet.  And  now  you  had  better  go  home. 
When  you  have  had  time  to  reach  there  I  will  restore  this 
horrid  man  to  life  and  let  him  go.  He  is  not  likely  to 
return  to  molest  you.' 

4 1  shall  be  here  to-morrow/  said  Okureha,  bowing  her 
thanks  amid  her  c  Sayonaras.' 

Okureha  San  was  so  much  impressed  by  the  face  of 
the  Goddess  that  she  could  not  sleep,  and  at  daybreak 
next  morning  was  out  in  the  fields  gathering  flowers, 

1  Angel. 


The  Perpetual  Life-Giving  Wine 

which  she  took  up  the  mountain  to  the  shrine,  where  she 
found  the  goddess  waiting. 

They  talked  on  many  subjects,  and  enjoyed  each 
other's  company,  and  arranged  to  meet  often.  Conse- 
quently, whenever  Okureha  had  time  she  always  went 
up  the  mountain.  This  continued  for  nearly  a  year,  when 
Okureha  went  up  with  flowers  for  the  goddess  as  usual  ; 
but  she  was  looking  sad,  and  felt  sad. 

*  Why  is  this  ? '  asked  the  goddess.  '  Why  are  you 
so  sad  ? ' 

'  Ah,  your  Holiness  is  right,'  said  Okureha.  *  I  am 
sad,  for  this  may  be  the  last  day  I  can  come  up  here  and 
see  you.  I  am  now  seventeen  years  of  age,  and  my 
parents  think  me  old  enough  to  marry.  Twelve  years 
ago  my  father  arranged  that  I  should  marry  the  son  of 
one  of  his  friends,  Tokue,  of  Iwasakimura,  when  we  were 
old  enough.  Now  I  am  said  to  be  old  enough  :  so  I 
must  marry.  The  wedding  is  to  be  in  three  days.  After 
that  I  shall  have  to  stay  at  home  and  work  for  my 
husband,  and  I  fear  I  shall  not  see  you  any  more.  That 
is  why  I  am  sad.'  As  she  spoke  tears  ran  down  her 
cheeks,  and  there  was  for  a  few  moments  no  consoling 
her  ;  but  the  goddess  soothed  her,  saying  : 

1  You  must  not  be  sad,  dear  child.  On  the  contrary, 
you  are  about  to  enter  the  happiest  state  of  life,  by  being 
married.  If  people  were  not  married,  and  did  not  pro- 
duce children  to  inherit  new  spirits  and  life,  there  could 
be  no  continuation.  Go  back,  my  child,  happily  ;  get 
married  and  produce  children.  You  will  be  happy  and 
doing  your  duty  to  the  world  and  to  the  goddess. 
Before  we  say  farewell,  I  give  you  this  small  gourd  of 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

furoshu.1  Take  care  of  it  on  your  way  down  the  moun- 
tain, and  when  you  are  married  give  some  to  your 
husband.  You  will  both  remain  as  you  are  in  appearance, 
never  growing  a  day  older  though  you  live  for  centuries, 
as  you  will  do ;  and  also  it  will  bring  you  perfect 
happiness.  Now,  farewell !  ' 

Again  the  tears  came  to  Okureha's  eyes  -as  she  bade 
farewell  to  her  benefactress  ;  but  she  mustered  all  her 
pluck,  and,  making  her  last  bow,  took  her  way  down 
the  mountain,  weeping  as  she  went.  Three  days  later 
Okureha  was  married.  It  was  a  lucky  day  according 
to  the  calendars,  and,  moreover,  it  was  the  year  that  the 
Emperor  Toba  came  to  the  throne,  1108  A.D. 

One  day,  when  celebrating  this  event  at  a  picnic, 
Okureha  gave  her  husband  some  of  the  furoshu  sake, 
and  took  the  rest  herself,  as  the  goddess  had  bidden  her. 
They  were  sitting  on  a  beautiful  green  grassy  spot, 
whereon  grew  wild  violets  of  delicious  fragrance  ;  at 
their  feet  gurgled  a  mountain  stream  of  sparkling  clear- 
ness. To  their  surprise,  they  found  petals  of  cherry 
blossom  suddenly  falling  all  round  them.  There  were 
no  cherry  trees  near,  and  at  first  they  were  much  puzzled  ; 
but  they  saw  in  the  blue  sky  one  white  cloud  which  had 
just  sailed  over  them,  and  seated  thereon  was  the  Goddess 
of  Mount  Daimugenzan.  Okureha  recognised  her,  and 
pointed  her  out  to  her  husband  as  their  benefactress. 
The  white  cloud  carried  her  up  to  the  top  of  the  moun- 
tain, where  it  hovered  until  the  shades  of  evening  hid  it. 

Okureha  and  her  husband  never  grew  older.  They  lived 
for  hundreds  of  years  as  Sennins  in  Mount  Daimugenzan. 

1   Sake  wine  of  perpetual  youth. 


»F  THE 





MANY  years  ago  there  lived  in  the  village  of  Nomugi, 
in  Hida  Province,  an  old  farmer  named  Jinnai,  with  his 
wife.  The^  had  a  daughter  on  whom  they  simply  doted. 
Her  name  was  Yuka.  She  was  seven  years  of  age,  and 
an  extremely  beautiful  child.  Unfortunately,  just  at  this 
age  she  developed  something  the  matter  with  her  leg, 
which  grew  worse  and  worse  until  the  limb  became 
deformed.  O  Yuka  suffered  no  pain  ;  but  her  parents 
were  much  troubled.  Doctors,  drugs,  and  the  advice  of 
many  friends  made  Yuka's  leg  no  better. 

*  How  sad  it  will  be  for  her  later  on  ! '  thought  her 
mother  and  father.  '  Even  now  it  is  sad  that  she  should 
have  a  deformed  leg  when  she  plays  with  other  children.7 

There  being  no  help,  Yuka  and  her  parents  had  to 
make  the  best  of  things.  In  any  case,  Yuka  was  not  the 
only  deformity  in  the  village.  There  were  other  cases. 
One  of  Yuka's  boy  playmates,  Tarako,  had  been  born 
blind  ;  and  another,  Rinkichi,  was  so  deaf  that  he  could 
hold  his  ear  to  the  temple  bell  while  the  other  children 
struck  it,  and  he  never  heard  the  sound,  though  he 



The  Hermit's  Cave 

or  four  days.  You  are  not  to  mention  having  seen  me 
until  I  tell  you  that  you  may — after  you  are  cured.  To- 
morrow you  will  meet  me  at  the  flat  rock  under  the  cave 
on  Mount  Norikuradake.  You  know  the  place.  Very 
well  :  until  to-morrow  good-bye,  and  if  I  find  you  do  as 
I  tell  you  I  will  make  you  all  laugh  by  showing  you  some 
fancy  tricks.'  Then  he  trudged  off  in  the  direction 
whence  he  had  come. 

The  children  continued  their  play,  thinking  '  What  a 
nice  old  man ! '  And,  strange  to  say,  O  Yuka,  as  she 
walked  home,  felt  her  leg  to  be  of  greater  use. 

Very  little  attention  is  paid  to  Japanese  children.  They 
are  nearly  always  good  and  well-behaved,  little  grown-up 
people  in  fact ;  and  therefore  they  ate  their  suppers  and 
went  to  bed  as  such,  giving  no  account  of  their  day's 
amusements,  or  of  the  strange  old  man. 

Next  day  they  went  to  the  flat  rock.  As  it  was  wet, 
they  had  not  started  until  late  ;  but  they  found  the  old 
man,  and,  though  he  had  no  time  to  play  with  them  and 
show  the  tricks  which  he  had  promised,  he  attended  to 
Yuka's  leg,  and  to  the  dumb  boy  and  the  blind. 

'  Now  go  home,'  he  said,  c  and  come  back  here  to- 
morrow. By  the  time  you  get  home  Yuka's  leg  will  be 
well,  Tarako  will  be  able  to  see,  and  Rinkichi  able  to 
hear  ;  and  I  am  sure  your  relations  will  be  delighted. 
To-morrow,  if  it  is  fine,  you  must  come  early,  and  we 
shall  have  lots  of  fun.' 

Even  before  they  got  home  everything  came  about  as 
the  old  man  had  said.  The  three  children  were  recovered. 
The  villagers  and  the  parents  rejoiced  together  ;  but  all 
were  mystified  as  to  who  the  magician  could  be. 

185    '  24 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

'  If  he  returns  to  the  mountain,  as  the  children  say, 
then  he  must  live  in  the  cave/  said  one.  '  He  must  be  a 
Sennin,'  said  another.  *  It  is  rumoured  that  the  most 
famous  priest,  Kukai  shonin,  who  founded  the  sacred 
temple  on  Mount  Koyasan,  in  Kii  Province,  was  able  to 
make  these  wondrous  cures  in  children/  added  another. 
But,  with  all  the  gossiping  and  conjectures,  none  could 
explain  how  it  was  possible  to  bring  sight  to  a  boy  who 
had  been  born  blind.  At  last  some  one  suggested  that 
two  or  three  should  follow  the  children  secretly  on  the 
following  day  :  by  hiding  themselves  they  might  be  able 
to  see  what  happened.  This  excellent  plan  was  adopted. 

In  the  morning  about  thirty  children  started  off  at 
daybreak,  followed,  unknown  to  themselves,  by  two  men 
of  the  village. 

When  the  children  arrived  at  the  flat  rock — which  is 
said  to  be  large  enough  to  measure  one  thousand  Japanese 
mats  of  six  feet  by  three  feet — they  found  the  old  man 
seated  at  one  end  of  it.  The  two  men  who  had  followed 
hid  themselves  in  some  fine  azalea  bushes. 

First  they  saw  the  old  man  rise  to  his  feet,  and  then 
go  over  to  the  children  and  hear  from  the  three  cured 
ones  how  they  felt,  and  how  their  parents  had  been 
pleased.  Tarako  was  the  most  delighted,  perhaps,  of  the 
three  ;  for  he  had  never  seen  the  world  before,  or  even 
his  parents. 

*  Now,  my  children,  you  have  come  here  to  see  me, 
and  I  am  going  to  amuse  you  all.  See  here  !  '  Saying 
this,  the  old  man  picked  up  some  dead  sticks,  and,  blowing 
at  their  ends,  produced  blossoming  cherry  branches,  plum 
blossoms,  and  peach,  and  handed  a  branch  of  each  to  the 


The  Hermit's  Cave 

girls.  Next  he  took  a  stone  and  threw  it  into  the  air,  and 
behold  !  it  turned  into  a  dove.  Another  turned  into  a 
hawk,  or,  in  fact,  into  any  bird  a  boy  chose  to  name. 

'  Now,'  said  the  old  man,  <  I  will  show  you  some 
animals  that  will  make  you  laugh/  He  recited  some 
mystic  verse,  and  monkeys  came  leaping  on  the  flat  rock 
and  began  to  wrestle  with  one  another.  The  children 
clapped  their  hands  in  delight  ;  but  one  of  the  men  who 
was  hidden  exclaimed  in  his  astonishment  : 

'  Who  can  this  wizard  be  ?  No  other  but  a  wizard 
could  do  such  things  ! ' 

The  venerable  old  man  heard,  and,  looking  cautiously 
round,  said  : 

*  Children,  I  can  do  no  more  tricks  to-day.  My  spell 
has  gone.  I  will  go  to  my  home,  and  you  had  better  go 
to  yours.  Farewell.' 

So  saying,  the  old  man  bowed  to  them,  and  turned  up 
the  mountain  path,  taking  the  direction  of  the  cave. 

The  two  men  came  out  from  their  hiding,  and  they, 
with  the  children,  tried  to  follow  him.  In  spite  of  his 
great  age,  he  was  much  more  nimble  than  they  among  the 
rocks  ;  but  they  got  far  enough  to  see  him  enter  the  cave. 
Some  minutes  later  they  came  to  the  entrance,  and  bowed 
before  it.  The  entrance  was  surrounded  by  fragrant 
flowers  ;  but  into  its  dark  depths  they  did  not  venture. 

Suddenly  Oi  Yuka  pointed  upwards,  crying,  c  There  is 
the  old  grandfather  ! '  They  all  looked  up  ;  and  standing 
on  a  cloud  was  the  old  man,  right  over  the  summit  of 
the  mountain. 

'  Ah,  now  it  is  quite  clear  ! '  cried  one  of  the  men.  c  It 
is  the  famous  hermit  of  Mount  Norikuradake.'  They  all 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

bowed  low,  and  then  went  home  to  report  to  the  villagers 
what  they  had  seen. 

Subscriptions  were  collected  ;  a  small  temple  was  built 
inside  the  cave,  and  they  called  it  the  '  Sendokutsu 
Temple/  which  means  The  Sennin's  Temple. 


IN  the  reign  of  the  Emperor  Sanjo  began  a  particularly 
unlucky  time.  It  was  about  the  year  1013  A.D.  when 
Sanjo  came  to  the  throne — the  first  year  of  Chowa. 
Plague  broke  out.  Two  years  later  the  Royal  Palace 
was  burned  down,  and  a  war  began  with  Korea,  then 
known  as  '  Shiragi.' 

In  1016  another  fire  broke  out  in  the  new  Palace.  A 
year  later  the  Emperor  gave  up  the  throne,  owing  to 
blindness  and  for  other  causes.  He  handed  over  the 
reins  of  office  to  Prince  Atsuhara,  who  was  called  the 
Emperor  Go  Ichijo,  and  came  to  the  throne  in  the  first 
year  of  Kwannin,  about  1017  or  1018.  The  period 
during  which  the  Emperor  Go  Ichijo  reigned — about  twenty 
years,  up  to  1036 — was  one  of  the  worst  in  Japanese 
history.  There  were  more  wars,  more  fires,  and  worse 
plagues  than  ever.  Things  were  in  disorder  generally, 
and  even  Kyoto  was  hardly  safe  to  people  of  means, 
owing  to  the  bands  of  brigands.  In  1025  the  most 
appalling  outbreak  of  smallpox  came  ;  there  was  hardly 
a  village  or  a  town  in  Japan  which  escaped. 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

It  is  at  this  period  that  our  story  begins.  Our  heroine 
(if  such  she  may  be  called)  is  no  less  a  deity  than  the 
goddess  of  the  great  mountain  of  Fuji,  which  nearly  all 
the  world  has  heard  of,  or  seen  depicted.  Therefore,  if 
the  legend  sounds  stupid  and  childish,  blame  only  my  way 
of  telling  it  (simply,  as  it  was  told  to  me),  and  think  of 
the  Great  Mountain  of  Japan,  as  to  which  anything  should 
be  interesting  ;  moreover,  challenge  others  for  a  better.  T 
have  been  able  to  find  none  myself. 

During  the  terrible  scourge  of  smallpox  there  was  a 
village  in  Suruga  Province  called  Kamiide,  which  still 
exists,  but  is  of  little  importance.  It  suffered  more  badly 
than  most  other  villages.  Scarce  an  inhabitant  escaped. 
A  youth  of  sixteen  or  seventeen  years  was  much  tried. 
His  mother  was  taken  with  the  disease,  and,  his  father 
being  dead,  the  responsibility  of  the  household  fell  on 
Yosoji — for  such  was  his  name. 

Yosoji  procured  all  the  help  he  could  for  his  mother, 
sparing  nothing  in  the  way  of  medicines  and  attendance  ; 
but  his  mother  grew  worse  day  by  day,  until  at  last  her 
life  was  utterly  despaired  of.  Having  no  other  resource 
left  to  him,  Yosoji  resolved  to  consult  a  famous  fortune- 
teller and  magician,  Kamo  Yamakiko. 

Kamo  Yamakiko  told  Yosoji  that  there  was  but  one 
chance  that  his  mother  could  be  cured,  and  that  lay  much 
with  his  own  courage.  '  If/  said  the  fortune-teller,  '  you 
will  go  to  a  small  brook  which  flows  from  the  south- 
western side  of  Mount  Fuji,  and  find  a  small  shrine  near 
its  source,  where  Oki-naga-suku-neo l  is  worshipped,  you 
may  be  able  to  cure  your  mother  by  bringing  her  water 

1  The  God  of  Long  Breath. 


©F  THE 

UN1V  i 


Yosoji's  Camellia  Tree 

therefrom  to  drink.  But  I  warn  you  that  the  place  is  full 
of  dangers  from  wild  beasts  and  other  things,  and  that 
you  may  not  return  at  all  or  even  reach  the  place.' 

Yosoji,  in  no  way  discouraged,  made  his  mind  up 
that  he  would  start  on  the  following  morning,  and,  thank- 
ing the  fortune-teller,  went  home  to  prepare  for  an  early 

At  three  o'clock  next  morning  he  was  off. 

It  was  a  long  and  rough  walk,  one  which  he  had  never 
taken  before;  but  he  trudged  gaily  on,  being  sound  of 
limb  and  bent  on  an  errand  of  deepest  concern. 

Towards  midday  Yosoji  arrived  at  a  place  where 
three  rough  paths  met,  and  was  sorely  puzzled  which  to 
take.  While  he  was  deliberating  the  figure  of  a  beautiful 
girl  clad  in  white  came  towards  him  through  the  forest. 
At  first  Yosoji  felt  inclined  to  run  ;  but  the  figure  called 
to  him  in  silvery  notes,  saying  : 

'  Do  not  go.  I  know  what  you  are  here  for.  You 
are  a  brave  lad  and  a  faithful  son.  I  will  be  your  guide 
to  the  stream,  and — take  my  word  for  it — its  waters  will 
cure  your  mother.  Follow  me  if  you  will,  and  have  no 
fear,  though  the  road  is  bad  and  dangerous.' 

The  girl  turned,  and  Yosoji  followed  in  wonderment. 

In  silence  the  two  went  for  fully  four  miles,  always 
upwards  and  into  deeper  and  more  gloomy  forests.  At 
last  a  small  shrine  was  reached,  in  front  of  which  were 
two  Torii's,  and  from  a  cleft  of  a  rock  gurgled  a  silvery 
stream,  the  clearness  of  which  was  such  as  Yosoji  had 
never  seen  before. 

<  There,'  said  the  white-robed  girl,  '  is  the  stream  of 
which  you  are  in  search.  Fill  your  gourd,  and  drink  of 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

it  yourself,  for  the  waters  will  prevent  you  catching  the 
plague.  Make  haste,  for  it  grows  late,  and  it  would  not 
be  well  for  you  to  be  here  at  night.  I  shall  guide  you 
back  to  the  place  where  I  met  you/ 

Yosoji  did  as  he  was  bid,  drinking,  and  then  filling 
the  bottle  to  the  brim. 

Much  faster  did  they  return  than  they  had  come,  for 
the  way  was  all  downhill.  On  reaching  the  meeting  of 
the  three  paths  Yosoji  bowed  low  to  his  guide,  and 
thanked  her  for  her  great  kindness  ;  and  the  girl  told  him 
again  that  it  was  her  pleasure  to  help  so  dutiful  a  son. 

c  In  three  days  you  will  want  more  water  for  your 
mother/  said  she,  *  and  I  shall  be  at  the  same  place  to  be 
your  guide  again/ 

*  May  I  not  ask  to  whom  I  am  indebted  for  this  great 
kindness  ? '  asked  Yosoji. 

'  No  :  you  must  not  ask,  for  I  should  not  tell  you/ 
answered  the  girl.  Bowing  again,  Yosoji  proceeded  on 
his  way  as  fast  as  he  could,  wondering  greatly. 

On  reaching  home  he  found  his  mother  worse.  He 
gave  her  a  cup  of  the  water,  and  told  her  of  his  adventures. 
During  the  night  Yosoji  awoke  as  usual  to  attend  to  his 
mother's  wants,  and  to  give  her  another  bowl  of  water. 
Next  morning  he  found  that  she  was  decidedly  better. 
During  the  day  he  gave  her  three  more  doses,  and  on  the 
morning  of  the  third  day  he  set  forth  to  keep  his  appoint- 
ment with  the  fair  lady  in  white,  whom  he  found  seated 
waiting  for  him  on  a  rock  at  the  meeting  of  the  three 

c  Your  mother  is  better  :  I  can  see  from  your  happy 
face/  said  she.  '  Now  follow  me  as  before,  and  make 


Yosoji's  Camellia  Tree 

haste.  Come  again  in  three  days,  and  I  will  meet  you. 
It  will  take  five  trips  in  all,  for  the  water  must  be  taken 
fresh.  You  may  give  some  to  the  sick  villagers  as  well.' 

Five  times  did  Yosoji  take  the  trip.  At  the  end  of 
the  fifth  his  mother  was  perfectly  well,  and  most  thankful 
for  her  restoration  ;  besides  which,  most  of  the  villagers 
who  had  not  died  were  cured.  Yosoji  was  the  hero  of 
the  hour.  Every  one  marvelled,  and  wondered  who  the 
white-robed  girl  was  ;  for,  though  they  had  heard  of  the 
shrine  of  Oki-naga-suku-neo,  none  of  them  knew  where 
it  was,  and  but  few  would  have  dared  to  go  if  they  had 
known.  Of  course,  all  knew  that  Yosoji  was  indebted 
in  the  first  place  to  the  fortune-teller  Kamo  Yamakiko,  to 
whom  the  whole  village  sent  presents.  Yosoji  was  not 
easy  in  his  mind.  In  spite  of  the  good  he  had  brought 
about,  he  thought  to  himself  that  he  owed  the  whole 
of  his  success  in  finding  and  bringing  the  water  to  the 
village  to  his  fair  guide,  and  he  did  not  feel  that  he  had 
shown  sufficient  gratitude.  Always  he  had  hurried  home 
as  soon  as  he  had  got  the  precious  water,  bowing  his 
thanks.  That  was  all,  and  now  he  felt  as  if  more  were 
due.  Surely  prayers  at  the  shrine  were  due,  or  something  ; 
and  who  was  the  lady  in  white  ?  He  must  find  out. 
Curiosity  called  upon  him  to  do  so.  Thus  Yosoji 
resolved  to  pay  one  more  visit  to  the  spring,  and  started 
early  in  the  morning. 

Now  familiar  with  the  road,  he  did  not  stop  at  the 
meeting  of  the  three  paths,  but  pursued  his  way  directly 
to  the  shrine.  It  was  the  first  time  he  had  travelled  the 
road  alone,  and  in  spite  of  himself  he  felt  afraid,  though 
he  could  not  say  why.  Perhaps  it  was  the  oppressive 

193  25 

Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

it  yourself,  for  the  waters  will  prevent  you  catching  the 
plague.  Make  haste,  for  it  grows  late,  and  it  would  not 
be  well  for  you  to  be  here  at  night.  I  shall  guide  you 
back  to  the  place  where  I  met  you/ 

Yosoji  did  as  he  was  bid,  drinking,  and  then  filling 
the  bottle  to  the  brim. 

Much  faster  did  they  return  than  they  had  come,  for 
the  way  was  all  downhill.  On  reaching  the  meeting  of 
the  three  paths  Yosoji  bowed  low  to  his  guide,  and 
thanked  her  for  her  great  kindness  ;  and  the  girl  told  him 
again  that  it  was  her  pleasure  to  help  so  dutiful  a  son. 

'In  three  days  you  will  want  more  water  for  your 
mother/  said  she,  '  and  I  shall  be  at  the  same  place  to  be 
your  guide  again/ 

'  May  I  not  ask  to  whom  I  am  indebted  for  this  great 
kindness  ? '  asked  Yosoji. 

'  No  :  you  must  not  ask,  for  I  should  not  tell  you/ 
answered  the  girl.  Bowing  again,  Yosoji  proceeded  on 
his  way  as  fast  as  he  could,  wondering  greatly. 

On  reaching  home  he  found  his  mother  worse.  He 
gave  her  a  cup  of  the  water,  and  told  her  of  his  adventures. 
During  the  night  Yosoji  awoke  as  usual  to  attend  to  his 
mother's  wants,  and  to  give  her  another  bowl  of  water. 
Next  morning  he  found  that  she  was  decidedly  better. 
During  the  day  he  gave  her  three  more  doses,  and  on  the 
morning  of  the  third  day  he  set  forth  to  keep  his  appoint- 
ment with  the  fair  lady  in  white,  whom  he  found  seated 
waiting  for  him  on  a  rock  at  the  meeting  of  the  three 

c  Your  mother  is  better  :  I  can  see  from  your  happy 
face/  said  she.  '  Now  follow  me  as  before,  and  make 


Yosoji's  Camellia  Tree 

haste.  Come  again  in  three  days,  and  I  will  meet  you. 
It  will  take  five  trips  in  all,  for  the  water  must  be  taken 
fresh.  You  may  give  some  to  the  sick  villagers  as  well.' 

Five  times  did  Yosoji  take  the  trip.  At  the  end  of 
the  fifth  his  mother  was  perfectly  well,  and  most  thankful 
for  her  restoration  ;  besides  which,  most  of  the  villagers 
who  had  not  died  were  cured.  Yosoji  was  the  hero  of 
the  hour.  Every  one  marvelled,  and  wondered  who  the 
white-robed  girl  was  ;  for,  though  they  had  heard  of  the 
shrine  of  Oki-naga-suku-neo,  none  of  them  knew  where 
it  was,  and  but  few  would  have  dared  to  go  if  they  had 
known.  Of  course,  all  knew  that  Yosoji  was  indebted 
in  the  first  place  to  the  fortune-teller  Kamo  Yamakiko,  to 
whom  the  whole  village  sent  presents.  Yosoji  was  not 
easy  in  his  mind.  In  spite  of  the  good  he  had  brought 
about,  he  thought  to  himself  that  he  owed  the  whole 
of  his  success  in  finding  and  bringing  the  water  to  the 
village  to  his  fair  guide,  and  he  did  not  feel  that  he  had 
shown  sufficient  gratitude.  Always  he  had  hurried  home 
as  soon  as  he  had  got  the  precious  water,  bowing  his 
thanks.  That  was  all,  and  now  he  felt  as  if  more  were 
due.  Surely  prayers  at  the  shrine  were  due,  or  something  ; 
and  who  was  the  lady  in  white  ?  He  must  find  out. 
Curiosity  called  upon  him  to  do  so.  Thus  Yosoji 
resolved  to  pay  one  more  visit  to  the  spring,  and  started 
early  in  the  morning. 

Now  familiar  with  the  road,  he  did  not  stop  at  the 
meeting  of  the  three  paths,  but  pursued  his  way  directly 
to  the  shrine.  It  was  the  first  time  he  had  travelled  the 
road  alone,  and  in  spite  of  himself  he  felt  afraid,  though 
he  could  not  say  why.  Perhaps  it  was  the  oppressive 

193  25 

Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

gloom  of  the  mysterious  dark  forest,  overshadowed  by 
the  holy  mountain  of  Fuji,  which  in  itself  was  more 
mysterious  still,  and  filled  one  both  with  superstitious 
and  religious  feelings  and  a  feeling  of  awe  as  well.  No 
one  of  any  imagination  can  approach  the  mountain  even 
to-day  without  having  one  or  all  of  these  emotions. 

Yosoji,  however,  sped  on,  as  fast  as  he  could  go,  and 
arrived  at  the  shrine  of  Oki-naga-suku-neo.  He  found 
that  the  stream  had  dried  up.  There  was  not  a  drop 
of  water  left.  Yosoji  flung  himself  upon  his  knees 
before  the  shrine  and  thanked  the  God  of  Long  Breath 
that  he  had  been  the  means  of  curing  his  mother  and 
the  surviving  villagers.  He  prayed  that  his  guide  to 
the  spring  might  reveal  her  presence,  and  that  he  might 
be  enabled  to  meet  her  once  more  to  thank  her  for 
her  kindness.  When  he  arose  Yosoji  saw  his  guide 
standing  beside  him,  and  bowed  low.  She  was  the  first 
to  speak. 

4 You  must  not  come  here,'  she  said.  'I  have  told 
you  so  before.  It  is  a  place  of  great  danger  for  you. 
Your  mother  and  the  villagers  are  cured.  There  is  no 
reason  for  you  to  come  here  more.' 

'  I  have  come/  answered  Yosoji,  '  because  I  have  not 
fully  spoken  my  thanks,  and  because  I  wish  to  tell  you 
how  deeply  grateful  I  am  to  you,  as  is  my  mother  and  as 
are  the  whole  of  our  villagers.  Moreover,  they  all  as 
well  as  I  wish  to  know  to  whom  they  are  indebted  for  my 
guidance  to  the  spring.  Though  Kamo  Yamakiko  told 
me  of  the  spring,  I  should  never  have  found  it  but  for 
your  kindness,  which  has  now  extended  over  five  weeks. 
Surely  you  will  let  us  know  to  whom  we  are  so  much 


Yosoji's  Camellia  Tree 

indebted,  so  that  we  may  at  least  erect  a  shrine  in  our 
temple  ? ' 

'  All  that  you  ask  is  unnecessary.  I  am  glad  that  you 
are  grateful.  I  knew  that  one  so  truly  filial  as  you  must 
be  so,  and  it  is  because  of  your  filial  piety  and  goodness 
that  I  guided  you  to  this  health-giving  spring,  which, 
as  you  see,  is  dry,  having  at  present  no  further  use.  It 
is  unnecessary  that  you  should  know  who  I  am.  We 
must  now  part :  so  farewell.  End  your  life  as  you  have 
begun  it,  and  you  shall  be  happy.'  The  beautiful  maiden 
swung  a  wild  camellia  branch  over  her  head  as  if  with  a 
beckoning  motion,  and  a  cloud  came  down  from  the  top 
of  the  Mount  Fuji,  enveloping  her  at  first  in  mist.  It 
then  arose,  showing  her  figure  to  the  weeping  Yosoji, 
who  now  began  to  realise  that  he  loved  the  departing 
figure,  and  that  it  was  no  less  a  figure  than  that  of  the 
great  Goddess  of  Fujiyama.  Yosoji  fell  on  his  knees 
and  prayed  to  her,  and  the  goddess,  acknowledging  his 
prayer,  threw  down  the  branch  of  wild  camellia. 

Yosoji  carried  it  home,  and  planted  it,  caring  for 
it  with  the  utmost  attention.  The  branch  grew  to  a  tree 
with  marvellous  rapidity,  being  over  twenty  feet  high  in 
two  years.  A  shrine  was  built  ;  people  came  to  worship 
the  tree  ;  and  it  is  said  that  the  dewdrops  from  its  leaves 
are  a  cure  for  all  eye-complaints. 



THERE    are    many    stones    and    superstitions    regarding 
whales.       I    take    one,    dating    back    to    the    period    of 

*  Hoen '    (1135),    which   will  show   the   veneration    and 
the  fear  in  which  the  Japanese  have   always  held  these 
creatures.      I  will  annex  the  translation  by   Mr.  Ando, 
of   our    Consulate,    of  a    newspaper    paragraph    of  date 
February    12,   1907,   showing  that  the   superstitions  are 
still  current. 

Some  hundred  and  seventy-two  years  ago,  when  the 

*  Hoen  '  period  began,  the  shrine  of  Atsuta  at   Nagoya 
was  burned  down.     For   some  reason  this  calamity  was 
said    at  the    time    to    have   happened    because   the    head 
shrine-watcher,    Yoda    Emon,    had    startled    one    of  the 

Well,  at  any  rate  the  holy  shrine  was  burned  down, 
and  the  caretaker  was  exiled  to  Oshima  Island,  in  Idzu 

1  The  gods  principally  worshipped  at  Atsuta  are  the  Sun  Goddess  Amateras,  her 
brother  Susa-no-o,  Prince  Yamato-take,  his  wife  Miyazu-hime,  and  her  brother  Take- 
ino-tane  ;  but  the  object  most  venerated  is  the  sword  called  '  Kusa-nagi  no  Tsurugi,' 
one  of  the  three  principal  antique  objects  which  form  the  Imperial  Regalia  of  Japan, 
and  of  which  I  have  previously  told  a  story  or  two,  notably  that  of  *  Yamato-dake 
no  Mikoto  '  (p.  56  et  seq.}. 




Province,  now  generally  known  as  '  Vries '  Island.  It 
is  the  largest  and  most  northerly  of  the  group  of  islands 
which  run  in  a  chain  towards  the  south-east.  The  nearest 
to  Oshima  is  Toshi  Island,  often  named  Rishima,  of 
which  our  story  is  told. 

Yoda  Emon  was  a  man  of  active  mind  and  pursuits. 
Perhaps  that  is  why  he  startled  the  god  who  caused  the 
fire  at  Atsuta.  In  any  case,  he  felt  his  exile  greatly.  He 
could  gain  no  news  of  home  or  family,  and  he  fretted  and 
worried  himself  to  such  an  extent  that  at  last  his  nights 
became  sleepless  and  he  thought  to  himself  that  if  some 
relief  to  his  mind  did  not  come  soon  he  must  either  kill 
himself  or  go  mad. 

At  last  it  occurred  to  him  that  possibly  he  might  get 
permission  to  go  fishing  ;  and  the  permission  was  given 
him,  on  condition  that  he  kept  within  a  mile  of  the  shore. 
Day  after  day  Yoda  took  the  boat  which  was  lent  him, 
and  returned  generally  with  a  goodly  supply  of  fish, 
singing  to  himself  as  he  rowed  in  to  and  out  from  the 
shore.  He  soon  managed  to  sleep  soundly  and  regain  his 
strength.  After  a  month  or  two  Yoda  became  quite  a 
popular  person,  giving  his  fish  away  free  to  any  who 
chose  to  take  them,  and  he  was  soon  allowed  a  wider 
range  than  the  one -mile  limit.  He  became  an  expert 
sailor,  and  had  it  not  been  for  the  loss  of  his  family  he 
would  have  been  quite  happy  in  his  new  home.  One  day, 
the  morning  being  calm,  Yoda  ventured  farther  away 
than  usual,  hoping  to  capture  some  of  the  larger  fish 
which  were  reputed  to  be  plentiful  some  ten  miles 
from  Toshishima.  He  was  lucky,  and  landed  three 
magnificent  fish  of  the  mackerel  family,  known  as  '  sara ' 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

in  Japan,  'seer'  in  India,  and  '  albacore '  with  us  in 
England,  who  never  see  them.  Unfortunately,  after 
this  the  wind,  instead  of  springing  up  from  the  south-east 
as  usual,  came  out  from  the  north-west,  and,  instead  of 
being  able  to  return  to  Oshima,  Yoda  found  himself 
being  blown  farther  from  it.  The  wind  came  stronger 
and  stronger,  until  a  gale  was  blowing,  and  soon  the 
currents  caused  a  high  and  breaking  sea.  Darkness  set 
in,  and  Yoda  thought  to  himself  that  this  was  a  visitation 
upon  him  for  having  caught  fish.  c  Oh/  cried  he  aloud, 
1  what  foolish  sin  have  I  now  committed  ?  Surely  my 
position  as  a  banished  priest  should  have  told  me  that 
I  was  sinning  in  catching  fish  ! '  He  flung  himself  on  the 
bottom  of  the  boat  and  prayed  ;  but  his  prayers  availed 
him  nothing,  for  the  wind  increased  in  force,  and  so  did 
the  sea.  Long  after  midnight  a  big  wave  smashed 
the  boat  to  splinters.  Half  -  stunned,  half  -  drowned, 
Yoda  clung  to  the  large  oar,  and  so  remained  for  some 
three  hours. 

At  last  he  felt  himself  being  bumped  against  what  he 
took  to  be  a  rock,  and  letting  go  the  oar  scrambled  on  to 
it  more  dead  than  alive.  After  many  efforts,  so  exhausted 
was  he  and  so  numbed,  he  sat  there  only  half-conscious 
in  the  dark. 

Towards  morning  the  turn  of  tide  caused  the 
sea  to  smooth  down,  and  as  the  sun  rose  Yoda  found  to 
his  horror  that  it  was  no  rock  upon  which  he  sat,  but  the 
back  of  a  live  whale  of  gigantic  size.  Yoda  knew  neither 
what  to  do  nor  what  to  think ;  he  dared  not  move,  for  fear 
of  disturbing  the  whale's  repose.  Not  even  when  the 
animal  blew  water  and  air  from  its  spout -hole  did  he 



venture  to  turn  his  body.  But  silently  he  muttered 
prayers  all  the  time.  At  last,  when  the  sun  was  full  up, 
the  whale  began  to  turn  round,  and  as  it  did  so  Yoda  saw 
a  large  fishing-boat  not  more  than  half  a  mile  away.  He 
shouted  and  shouted  at  the  top  of  his  voice,  trying  to 
attract  attention  ;  but  move  he  dared  not,  lest  the  whale 
should  leave  him.  The  wind  was  still  high  ;  but  the  sea 
was  smooth. 

Suddenly  the  fishing-boat  changed  its  course,  and  the 
whale  lay  still  again,  basking  in  the  sunshine.  The  boat 
advanced  rapidly,  and  when  about  eighty  feet  from  the 
whale  brought  up  to  the  wind  and  lay  still.  A  life-line 
with  a  buoy  attached  was  drifted  towards  the  whale,  and 
when  it  was  near  enough  Yoda  slid  off  to  take  it,  and  was 
hauled  into  the  boat,  thoroughly  thankful  for  his  rescue. 
As  soon  as  Yoda  was  on  board,  the  boat  began  to  roll,  for 
the  whale  lashed  his  tail  and  was  playing  about,  causing 
quite  a  heavy  sea  ;  but,  to  the  relief  of  all,  the  creature 
headed  south  for  the  open  Pacific. 

The  crew  on  the  fishing -boat  belonged  to  Toshi 
Island,  and  had  heard  of  Yoda  Emon,  and,  being  good- 
natured  fellows,  felt  sorry  for  him  in  his  exile.  After  his 
astonishing  adventure  with  the  whale,  they  did  not  in 
the  least  mind  taking  him  back  to  Oshima,  which  they 
reached  about  sundown. 

Yoda  immediately  reported  himself,  and  was  con- 
gratulated on  his  extraordinary  escape. 

After  this  Yoda  gave  up  fishing,  and  submitted 
without  grumbling  to  the  severe  discipline  of  his  exile. 
On  the  occasion  of  Prince  Tanin  ascending  the  throne, 
an  ordinance  was  issued  giving  freedom  to  many  prisoners 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

and  exiles.  Yoda  Emon  was  among  them,  and  was  given 
permission  to  return  home  ;  but  he  said  he  had  made  so 
many  friends  on  the  island,  and  his  life  had  been  saved  so 
miraculously,  that  he  preferred  to  live  where  he  was. 
And  he  obtained  official  permission  to  do  so,  and  to  send 
for  his  family,  which  after  building  a  house  he  did.  In 
the  first  year  of  Koji  1142-1144,  Yoda  was  made  Mayor 
of  Shichito — that  is  the  seven  islands  lying  round  or  south 
of  Oshima  and  including  itself.  'Now/  thought  he, 
' 1  shall  be  able  to  repay  the  kindness  that  the  whale 
showed  me  in  saving  my  life  ! '  And  he  issued  an  order 
that  no  whales  were  to  be  chased  or  killed  anywhere 
near  the  islands  over  which  he  had  jurisdiction.  At  first 
there  was  some  grumbling  ;  but  the  Government  sent 
messengers  to  Oshima  to  say  that  the  Emperor  approved 
Yoda  Emon's  order,  and  furthermore,  that  during 
Yoda's  life  no  whale  was  to  be  killed  anywhere  in 

WHALE  AND  WHALER. — Some  years  ago  there  lived 
a  wealthy  fisherman  called  Matsushima  Tomigoro  at 
Matsushima,  in  Nagasaki.  He  made  a  large  fortune 
by  whale  -  fishing.  One  night  he  dreamed  a  strange 
dream.  A  whale  (zato  kujira),  carrying  a  baby  whale, 
appeared  before  his  pillow,  and  requested  him  to  let  her 
and  the  baby  go  safely — they  were  going  to  pass  a  certain 
part  of  the  sea  at  a  certain  time  and  date.  Matsushima 
heartlessly  did  not  accede,  but  took  advantage  of  the 
information.  He  put  a  net  in  the  said  sea  at  the  due 
time,  and  caught  a  whale  and  her  baby.  Not  long  after, 
the  cruel  fisherman  began  to  reap  the  harvest  of  his 



mercilessness.  Misfortune  after  misfortune  befell  him, 
and  all  his  wealth  disappeared.  '  It  must  be  the  result  of 
his  cruelty  in  killing  the  whale  and  its  baby/  said  the 
neighbours  ;  and  for  some  time  they  never  caught  whales 
carrying  babies.  (Translated  by  Mr.  Ando.) 

201  26 



IN  the  province  of  Mimasaka  is  a  small  town  called 
Kagami,  and  in  the  temple  grounds  is  a  shrine  which  has 
been  there  for  some  hundreds  of  years,  and  is  dedicated  to 
Musubi-nojCflrni)  thp  Qnr|  of  Love.  Near  by  once  stood 
a  magnificent  old^^clierry  ITPP  which  was  given  the  name  of 
Kanzakura,  or  Holy  Cherry,  and  it  is  in  honour  of  this 
tree  that  the  shrine  dedicated  to  the  God  of  Love  was  built. 

Long  ago,  when  the  village  of  Kagami  was  smaller 
than  it  is  at  present,  it  had  as  one  of  its  chief  residents  a 
man  called  Sodayu.  Sodayu  was  one  of  those  men,  to  be 
found  in  most  Japanese  villages,  who  with  but  little  work 
thrive  on  the  work  of  others  and  grow  richer  than  most. 
He  bought  and  he  sold  their  crops,  making  commission  both 
ways,  and  before  he  was  middle-aged  he  was  a  rich  man. 

SodayiijvasjijKadower  ;  but  he  had  a-4o£ely_da_ughter 
who  was  aged  seventeen,  and  it  was  thought  by  Sodayu 
that  the  time  had  now  arrived  for  him  to  look  about  for 
a  desirable  husband  for  Hanano.  Accordingly  he  called 
her  to  him  and  said  : 

'The  time  has  come,  my  dear  child,  when  it  is  my 



The  Holy  Cherry  Tree 

duty  to  find  you  a  suitable  husband.  When  I  have  done 
so  you  will,  I  trust,  approve  of  him,  for  it  will  be  your 
duty  to  marry  him/ 

Of  course,  O  Hanano  bowed  her  willingness  to  do  just 
as  her  father  decreed  ;  but  at  the  same  time  she  confided 
in  her  favourite  servant  Yuka  that  she  did  not  care  about 
being  married  to  a  man  that  she  might  not  love. 

'  What  can  I  do — what  would  you  advise  me  to  do — 
my  dear  O  Yuka  ?  Do  try  and  think  how  you  can  help 
me  to  obtain  a  man  I  can  love.  A  handsome  man  he 
must  be,  and  not  more  than  twenty-two  years  of  age.' 

O  Yuka  answered  that  the  advice  asked  for  was 
difficult  to  give  ;  but  there  was  one  thing,  she  said. 
'  You  can  go  to  the  temple  and  pray  at  the  shrine  of 
Musubi-no-Kami,  the  God  of  Love.  Pray  him  that  the 
husband  your  father  finds  may  be  'handsome  and  after 
your  own  heart.  They  say  that  if  you  pray  at  this  shrine 
twenty-one  days  in  succession  you  will  obtain  the  kind  of 
lover  you  want.' 

O  Hanano  was  pleased  with  the  idea,  and  that  after- 
noon, accompanied  by  Yuka,  her  maid,  she  went  to  pray 
at  the  shrine  of  Musubi-no-Kami.  Day  after  day  they 
continued  until  the  twenty-first  and  last  day  of  the  series 
had  arrived.  They  had  finished  their  prayers  and  were 
on  their  way  from  the  temple  and  passing  under  the 
great  cherry  tree  known  as  the  '  Kanzakura '  or  Holy 
Cherry,  when  they  saw,  standing  near  its  stem,  a  youth  of 
some  twenty  or  twenty-one  years.  He  was  handsome, 
with  a  pale  face  and  expressive  eyes.  In  his  hand  he  held 
a  branch  of  cherry-blossom.  He  smiled  pleasantly  at 
Hanano,  and  she  at  him  ;  then,  bowing,  he  came  forward 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

and  smilingly  presented  her  with  the  blossom.  Hanano 
blushed,  and  took  the  flowers.  The  youth  bowed  again 
and  walked  away ;  as  did  Hanano,  who  had  a  fluttering 
heart  and  felt  very  happy,  for  she  thought  that  this  youth 
must  be  the  one  sent  by  the  God  of  Love  in  answer  to 
her  prayers.  *  Of  course  it  must  be/  she  said  to  O  Yuka. 
*  This  is  the  twenty-first,  and  that  completes  the  course  of 
prayer  you  spoke  of.  Am  I  not  lucky  ?  And  is  he  not 
handsome  ?  I  do  not  think  it  possible  that  a  more  hand- 
some youth  was  ever  seen.  I  wish  he  had  not  gone  away 
so  soon.'  This  and  much  more  did  O  Hanano  prattle  to 
her  maid  on  their  way  home,  upon  reaching  which  the 
first  thing  she  did  was  to  put  the  cherry-blossom  branch 
into  a  vase  in  her  own  room. 

*  O  Yuka ! '  she  called  for  the  twentieth  time  at  least. 
'  Now  you  must  go  and  find  out  all  you  can  about  the 
young  man  ;  but  say  nothing  to  my  father  as  yet. 
Possibly  it  is  not  the  husband  he  is  choosing  for  me  ;  but 
I  can  love  no  other,  at  all  events,  and  I  must  love  him  in 
secret  if  this  is  the  case.  Now  go,  dear  Yuka.  Find  out 
all  you  can  and  you  will  prove  yourself  more  faithful  and 
dear  to  me  than  ever.'  And  the  faithful  maid  went  on 
her  young  mistress's  errand. 

Now,  O  Yuka  found  out  nothing  about  the  youth 
they  had  seen  under  the  Holy  Cherry  tree  ;  but  she  found 
out  that  there  was  another_youth  in  the  village  who  had 
fallen  greatly  in  love  with  her  mistress,  and,  as  he  had 
heard  that  O  Hanano' s  father  was  looking  out  for  a 
suitable  husband,  he  intended  to  apply  next  day  himself. 
His  name  was  Tolamosuke^  He  was  a  fairly  well-connected 
youth,  and  had  some  means  ;  but  his  looks  were  in  no 


The  Holy  Cherry  Tree 

way  comparable  with  those  of  the  youth  who  had  handed 
the  cherry  branch  to  Hanano.  Having  discovered  this 
much,  Yuka  returned  to  her  young  mistress  and  reported. 

Next  day,  early  in  the  morning,  at  the  most  formal 
calling   hour,  Tokunosuke  went   by  appointment  to  see 
Hanano's  father.      Hanano  was  called  to  serve  tea,  and 
saw   the    young    man.      Tokunosuke    was    scrupulously 
formal  and  polite  to  her,  and  she  to  him  ;  and  soon  after 
he  left  Hanano  was  told  by  her  father  that  that  was  the 
young  man  whom  he  had   chosen   to   be   her   husband. 
4  He    is    desirable    in  every  way,'    he   added.     '  He   has  f 
money.     His   father  is  my   friend,   and  he   has   secretly) 
loved  you  for  some  months.     You  can  ask  for  nothing) 

O  Hanano  made  no  answer,  but  burst  out  crying  and   | 
left  the  room  ;  and  Yuka  was  called  in  her  stead. 

*  I  have  found  a  most  desirable  young  man  as  husband 
for  your  mistress/  said  Sodayu  ;  '  but  instead  of  showing 
pleasure  and  gratitude  she  has  flown  from  the  room 
crying.  Can  you  explain  to  me  the  reason  ?  You  must 
know  her  secrets.  Has  she  a  lover  unknown  to  me  ? ' 

O  Yuka  was  not  prepared  to  face  the  anger  of  her 
mistress's  father,  and  she  thought  that  truth  in  this 
especial  instance  would  further  Hanano's  interests  best. 
So  she  told  the  story  faithfully  and  boldly.  Sodayu 
thanked  her  for  it,  and  again  called  his  daughter  to  him, 
telling  her  that  she  must  either^pFoduce  her  lover  or 
allow  Tokunosuke  to  call  and  press  his  suit.  Next 
morning  ToktlhoSukcT  did  calT"p~i)uL  I  lanano^told  him 
with  tears  in  her  eyes  that  she  could  not  love  him,  for  she 
loved  another,  whose  name  she  did  not  even  know  herself. 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

*  '  This  is  a  strange  piece  of  news/  thought  Tokunosuke 
to  himself.  '  Almost  insulting  to  love  a  man  whose  name 
she  does  not  know  ! '  And,  bowing  low,  he  left  the  house, 
determined  to  find  out  who  his  nameless  rival  was,  even  if 
he  had  to  disguise  himself  and  follow  Hanano  to  do  so. 

That  very  afternoon  Hanano  and  Yuka  went  to  pray 
as  usual,  and  on  coming  away  they  again  found  the  hand- 
some youth  standing  under  the  cherry  tree,  and  again  he 
advanced  and  smilingly  handed  Hanano  a  branch  full  of 
bloom  ;  but  again  no  words  came  from  his  lips,  and  it 
was  evident  to  Tokunosuke  (who  was  hiding  behind  some 
stone  lanterns)  that  they  could  not  have  known  each  other 

In  a  few  moments  they  bowed  and  separated.  O 
Hanano  and  her  maid  walked  away  from  the  temple, 
while  the  youth  under  the  cherry  tree  looked  after  them. 

Tokunosuke  was  now  furiously  jealous.  He  came 
from  his  hiding-place,  and  accosted  the  youth  under  the 
cherry  tree  in  a  rude  and  rough  tone. 

'  Who  are  you,  you  hateful  rascal  ?  Give  me  your 
name  and  address  at  once  !  And  tell  me  how  you  dare 
tempt  the  beautiful  O  Hanano  San  to  love  you ! '  He 
was  about  to  seize  his  enemy  by  the  arm  when  the  enemy 
jumped  suddenly  back  a  step,  and  before  Tokunosuke  had 
time  to  catch  him  a  sudden  gust  of  wind  blew  the  bloom 
thickly  off  the  cherry  tree.  So  thick  and  quickly  did  the 
blossoms  fall,  they  blinded  Tokunosuke  for  some  moments. 
When  he  could  see  again  the  handsome  youth  was  gone ; 
but  there  was  a  strange  moaning  sound  inside  the  cherry 
tree,  while  one  of  the  temple  priests  came  rushing  at  him 
in  great  anger,  crying  *  Ah !  you  sacrilegious  villain ! 


The  Holy  Cherry  Tree 

What  do  you  mean  by  attempting  violence  here  ?  Do 
you  not  know  that  this  cherry  tree  has  stood  here  for 
hundreds  of  years?  It  is  sacred,  and  contains  a  holy 
spirit,  which  sometimes  comes  forth  in  the  form  of  a 
youth.  It  is  he  that  you  tried  to  touch  with  your  filthy 
and  unholy  hand.  Begone,  1  say,  and  never  dare  enter 
this  temple  again  ! ' 

Tokunosuke  did  not  want  pressing.  He  took  to  his 
heels  and  ran,  and  he  ran  straight  to  the  house  of  Sodayu, 
and  told  what  he  had  seen,  and  what  had  befallen  himself, 
omitting  nothing,  even  to  the  names  the  priest  had 
called  him. 

'  Perhaps  now  your  daughter  may  consent  to  marry  me/ 
he  finished  by  saying.  '  She  cannot  marry  a  holy  spirit ! ' 

O  Hanano  was  called,  and  told  the  story,  and  was  very 
much  ^u]3set_that  the  f%ce  to  whom  she  had  given  her 
heart  was  that  of  a  spirit.  '  What  sin  have  I  committed/ 
she  cried,  '  falling  in  love  with  a  god  ? '  And  she  rushed 
off  to  implore  forgiveness  at  the  shrine.  Long  and 
earnestly  she  prayed  that  her  sin  might  be  forgiven  her. 
She  resolved  to  devote  the  rest  of  her  life  to  the  temple, 
and  as  she  refused  to  marry  she  obtained  her  fathsrls 
consent.  Then  she  applied  for  permission  to  live  in  the 
temple  arid  become  one  of  its  caretakers.  She  shaved 
her  head,  wore  a  white  linen  coat  and  the  crimson 
pantaloons  which  denote  that  you  are  no  longer  of  the 
world.  O  Hanano  remained  in  the  temple  for  the  rest 
of  her  life,  sweeping  the  grounds,  and  praying. 

The  temple  still  stands.  It  is  highly  probable  that 
if  the  stump  of  the  cherry  tree  remains  another  tree  is 
planted  beside  it,  as  is  usual. 



FAR  up  on  the  north-eastern  coast  of  Korea  is  a  high 
mountain  called  Kanzanrei,  and  not  far  from  its  base, 
where  lies  the  district  of  Kanko  Fu,  is  a  village  called 
Teiheigun,  trading  in  little  but  natural  products  such  as 
mushrooms,  timber,  furs,  fish,  and  a  little  gold. 

In  this  village  lived  a  pretty  girl  called  Choyo,  an 
orphan  of  some  means.  Her  father,  Choka,  had  been  the 
only  merchant  in  the  district,  and  he  had  made  quite  a 
fortune  for  those  parts,  which  he  had  left  to  Choyo  when 
she  was  some  sixteen  summers  old. 

At  the  foot  of  the  mountain  of  Kanzanrei  lived  a  wood- 
cutter of  simple  and  frugal  habits.  He  dwelt  alone  in  a 
broken-down  hut,  associated  with  but  the  few  to  whom  he 
sold  his  wood,  and  was  considered  generally  to  be  a  morose 
and  unsociable  man.  The  '  Recluse '  he  was  called,  and 
many  wondered  who  he  was,  and  why  he  kept  so  much 
to  himself,  for  he  was  not  yet  thirty  years  of  age  and 
was  remarkable  for  his  good  looks  and  strong  frame. 
Sawada  Shigeoki  was  his  name  ;  but  the  people  did  not 
know  it. 



A  Story  of  Mount  Kanzanrei 

One  evening,  as  the  Recluse  was  wending  his  way  down 
the  rough  mountain  path  with  a  large  load  of  firewood  on 
his  back,  he  was  resting  in  a  particularly  wild  and  rocky 
pass  darkened  by  the  huge  pine  trees  which  towered 
on  every  hand,  and  was  startled  by  a  rustling  sound  close 
below.  He  looked  nervously  round,  for  the  place  in  which 
he  was  had  the  reputation  of  being  haunted  by  tigers,  and 
with  some  truth,  for  several  people  had  lately  been  killed 
by  them.  On  this  occasion,  however,  the  sound  which 
had  startled  the  Recluse  was  caused  by  no  tiger,  but  only 
by  a  pheasant  which  fluttered  off  her  nest,  and  was  imitat- 
ing the  sign  of  a  wounded  bird,  to  draw  the  intruder's 
attention  away  from  the  direction  of  her  nest.  Strange, 
however,  was  it,  thought  the  Recluse,  that  the  bird  should 
have  so  acted,  for  she  could  neither  have  seen  nor  heard 
him  ;  and  so  he  listened  intently  to  find  the  cause.  There 
were  not  many  minutes  to  wait.  Almost  immediately  the 
Recluse  heard  the  sounds  of  voices  and  of  scuffling,  and, 
hiding  himself  behind  the  trunk  of  a  large  tree,  he  waited, 
axe  in  hand. 

Soon  he  saw  being  carried,  pushed,  and  dragged  down 
the  path,  a  girl  of  surpassing  beauty.  She  was  in  charge 
of  three  villainous  men  whom  the  Recluse  soon  recognised 
as  bandits. 

As  they  were  coming  his  way  the  Recluse  retained  his 
position,  hidden  behind  the  great  pine,  and  grasping  more 
firmly  his  axe  ;  and  as  the  four  approached  him  he  sprang 
out  and  blocked  their  way. 

'  Who  have  you  here,  and  what  are  you  doing  with 
this  girl  ? '  cried  he.  *  Let  her  go,  or  you  will  have  to 
suffer ! ' 

209  27 

Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

Being  three  to  one,  the  robbers  were  in  no  fear,  and 
cried  back,  '  Stand  out  of  our  way,  you  fool,  and  let  us 
pass — unless  you  wish  to  lose  your  life.'  But  the  wood- 
cutter was  not  afraid.  He  raised  his  axe,  and  the  robbers 
drew  their  swords.  The  woodcutter  was  too  much  for 
them.  In  an  instant  he  had  cut  down  one  and  pushed 
another  over  the  precipice,  and  the  third  took  to  his  heels, 
only  too  glad  to  get  away  with  his  life. 

The  Recluse  then  bent  down  to  attend  to  the  girl,  who 
had  fainted.  He  fetched  water  and  bathed  her  face, 
bringing  her  back  to  her  senses,  and  as  soon  as  she  was 
able  to  speak  he  asked  who  she  was,  whether  she  was  hurt, 
and  how  she  had  come  into  the  hands  of  such  ruffians. 

Amid  sobs  and  weeping  the  girl  answered  : 

4 1  am  Choyo  Choka.  My  home  is  the  village  of 
Teiheigun.  This  is  the  anniversary  of  my  father's  death, 
and  I  went  to  pray  at  his  tomb  at  the  foot  of  Gando 
Mountain.  The  day  being  fine,  I  decided  to  make  a  long 
tour  and  come  back  this  way.  About  an  hour  ago  I  was 
seized  by  these  robbers  ;  and  the  rest  you  know.  Oh, 
sir,  I  am  thankful  to  you  for  your  bravery  in  saving  me. 
Please  tell  me  your  name/ 

The  woodcutter  answered  : 

'Ah,  then,  you  are  the  famous  beauty  of  Teiheigun 
village,  of  whom  I  have  so  often  heard  !  It  is  an  honour 
indeed  to  me  that  I  have  been  able  to  help  you.  As  for 
me,  I  am  a  woodcutter.  The  "  Recluse  "  they  call  me,  and 
I  live  at  the  foot  of  this  mountain.  If  you  will  come  with 
me  I  will  take  you  to  my  hut,  where  you  can  rest ;  and 
then  I  will  see  you  safely  to  your  home.' 

Choyo  was  very  grateful  to  the  woodcutter,  who 


A  Story  of  Mount  Kanzanrei 

shouldered  his  stack  of  wood,  and,  taking  her  by  the 
hand,  led  her  down  the  steep  and  dangerous  path.  At 
his  hut  they  rested,  and  he  made  her  tea  ;  then  took 
her  to  the  outskirts  of  her  village,  where,  bowing  to  her 
in  a  manner  far  above  that  of  the  ordinary  peasant,  he 
left  her. 

That  night  Choyo  could  think  of  nothing  but  the  brave 
and  handsome  woodcutter  who  had  saved  her  life  ;  so 
much,  indeed,  did  she  think  that  before  the  morn  had 
dawned  she  felt  herself  in  love,  deeply  and  desperately. 

The  day  passed  and  night  came.  Choyo  had  told  all 
her  friends  of  how  she  had  been  saved  and  by  whom. 
The  more  she  talked  the  more  she  thought  of  the  wood- 
cutter, until  at  last  she  made  up  her  mind  that  she  must 
go  and  see  him,  for  she  knew  that  he  would  not  come  to 
see  her.  *  I  have  the  excuse  of  going  to  thank  him/  she 
thought  ;  '  and,  besides,  I  will  take  him  a  present  of  some 
delicacies  and  fish/ 

Accordingly,  next  morning  she  started  off  at  daybreak, 
carrying  her  present  in  a  basket.  By  good  fortune  she 
found  the  Recluse  at  home,  sharpening  his  axes,  but 
otherwise  taking  a  holiday. 

c 1  have  come,  sir,  to  thank  you  again  for  your  brave 
rescue  of  myself  the  other  day,  and  I  have  brought  a  small 
present,  which,  I  trust,  however  unworthy,  you  will  deign 
to  accept/  said  the  love-sick  Choyo. 

'There  is  no  reason  to  thank  me  for  performing  a 
common  duty/  said  the  Recluse  ;  '  but  by  so  fair  a  pair 
of  lips  as  yours  it  is  pleasing  to  be  thanked,  and  I  feel  the 
great  honour.  The  gift,  however,  I  cannot  accept  ;  for 
then  I  should  be  the  debtor,  which  for  a  man  is  wrong.' 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

Choyo  felt  both  flattered  and  rebuffed  at  this  speech, 
and  tried  again  to  get  the  Recluse  to  accept  her  present ; 
but,  though  her  attempts  led  to  friendly  conversation  and 
to  chaff,  he  would  not  do  so,  and  Choyo  left,  saying  : 

'  Well,  you  have  beaten  me  to-day  ;  but  I  will  return, 
and  in  time  I  shall  beat  you  and  make  you  accept  a  gift 
from  me/ 

'  Come  here  when  you  like,'  answered  the  Recluse.  '  I 
shall  always  be  glad  to  see  you,  for  you  are  a  ray  of  light 
in  my  miserable  hut ;  but  never  shall  you  place  me  under 
an  obligation  by  making  me  accept  a  gift/ 

It  was  a  curious  answer,  thought  Choyo  as  she  left ; 
but  *  Oh,  how  handsome  he  is,  and  how  I  love  him  !  and 
anyway  I  will  visit  him  again,  often,  and  see  who  wins 
in  the  end.' 

Such  was  the  assurance  of  so  beautiful  a  girl  as  Choyo. 
She  felt  that  she  must  conquer  in  the  end. 

For  the  next  two  months  she  visited  the  Recluse  often, 
and  they  sat  and  talked.  He  brought  her  wild-flowers  of 
great  rarity  and  beauty  from  the  highest  mountains,  and 
berries  to  eat ;  but  never  once  did  he  make  love  to  her  or 
even  accept  the  slightest  present  from  her  hands.  That 
did  not  deter  Choyo  from  pursuing  her  love.  She  was 
determined  to  win  in  the  end,  and  she  even  felt  that  in  a 
way  this  strange  man  loved  her  as  she  loved  him,  but  for 
some  reason  would  not  say  so. 

One  day  in  the  third  month  after  her  rescue  Choyo 
again  went  to  see  the  Recluse.  He  was  not  at  home  :  so 
she  sat  and  waited,  looking  round  the  miserable  hut  and 
thinking  what  a  pity  it  was  that  so  noble  a  man  should 
live  in  such  a  state,  when  she,  who  was  well  off,  was  only 


A  Story  of  Mount  Kanzanrei 

too  anxious  to  marry  him  ; — :and  of  her  own  beauty  she 
knew  well.  While  she  was  thus  musing,  the  woodcutter 
returned,  not  in  his  usual  rags,  but  in  the  handsome 
costume  of  a  Japanese  samurai,  and  greatly  astonished  was 
she  as  she  rose  to  greet  him. 

'  Ah,  fair  Choyo,  you  are  surprised  to  see  me  now  as  I 
am,  and  it  is  also  with  sorrow  that  I  must  tell  you  what  I 
do,  for  I  know  well  what  is  in  both  your  heart  and  mind. 
To-day  we  must  part  for  ever,  for  I  am  going  away.' 

Choyo  flung  herself  upon  the  floor,  weeping  bitterly, 
and  then  rising,  said,  between  her  sobs  :  '  Oh,  now,  this 
cannot  be !  You  must  not  leave  me,  but  take  me  with 
you.  Hitherto  I  have  said  nothing,  because  it  is  not  for 
a  maid  to  declare  her  love  ;  but  I  love  you,  and  have 
loved  you  ever  since  the  day  you  saved  me  from  the 
robbers.  Take  me  with  you,  no  matter  where  ;  even  to 
the  Cave  where  the  Demons  of  Hell  live  will  I  follow  you 
if  you  will  but  let  me  !  You  must,  for  I  cannot  be  happy 
without  you/ 

'  Alas/  cried  the  Recluse,  '  this  cannot  be  !  It  is  im- 
possible ;  for  I  am  a  Japanese,  not  a  Korean.  Though  I 
love  you  as  much  as  you  love  me,  we  cannot  be  united. 
My  name  is  Sawada  Shigeoki.  I  am  a  samurai  from 
Kurume.  Ten  years  ago  I  committed  a  political  offence 
and  had  to  fly  from  my  country.  I  came  to  Korea  dis- 
guised as  a  woodcutter,  and  until  I  met  you  I  had  not  a 
happy  day.  Now  our  Government  is  changed  and  I  am 
free  to  return  home.  To  you  I  have  told  this  story,  and 
to  you  alone.  Forgive  my  heartlessness  in  leaving  you. 
I  do  so  with  tears  in  my  eyes  and  sorrow  in  my  heart. 
Farewell ! '  So  saying,  the  '  brave  samurai '  (as  my 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

raconteur  calls  him)   strode  from  the  hut,  never  to  see 
poor  Choyo  again. 

Choyo  continued  to  weep  until  darkness  came  on  and 
it  was  too  late  for  her  to  return  home  in  safety  :  so  she 
spent  the  night  where  she  was,  in  weeping.  Next  morning 
she  was  found  by  her  servants  almost  demented  with  fever. 
She  was  carried  to  her  home,  and  for  three  months  was 
seriously  ill.  On  her  recovery  she  gave  most  of  her 
money  to  temples,  and  in  charity  ;  she  sold  her  house, 
keeping  only  enough  money  to  buy  herself  rice,  and  spent 
the  remainder  of  her  days  alone  in  the  little  hut  at  the 
foot  of  Mount  Kenzanrei,  where  at  the  age  of  twenty- 
one  she  was  found  dead  of  a  broken  heart.  The  samurai 
was  brave  ;  but  was  he  noble  in  spite  of  his  haughty 
national  pride  ?  To  the  Japanese  mind  he  acted  as  did 
Buddha  when  he  renounced  his  worldly  loves.  What 
chance  is  there,  if  all  men  act  thus,  of  a  sincere  friendship 
between  Japan  and  Korea  ? 



AT  the  foot  of  Mount  Shumongatake,  up  in  the  north- 
western province  of  Echigo,  once  stood,  and  probably 
even  still  stands  in  rotten  or  repaired  state,  a  temple  of 
some  importance,  inasmuch  as  it  was  the  burial-ground 
of  the  feudal  Lord  Yamana's  ancestors.  The  name  of  the 
temple  was  Fumonji,  and  many  high  and  important  priests 
kept  it  up  generation  after  generation,  owing  to  the  early 
help  received  from  Lord  Yamana's  relations.  Among 
the  priests  who  presided  over  this  temple  was  one  named 
Ajari  Joan,  who  was  the  adopted  son  of  the  Otomo 

Ajari  was  learned  and  virtuous,  and  had  many 
followers  ;  but  one  day  the  sight  of  a  most  attractive 
girl  called  Kiku,1  whose  age  was  eighteen,  upset  all  his 
religious  equilibrium.  He  fell  desperately  in  love  with 
her,  offering  to  sacrifice  his  position  and  reputation  if  she 
would  only  listen  to  his  prayer  and  marry  him  ;  but  the 
lovely  O  Kiku  San  refused  all  his  entreaties.  A  year 
later  she  was  taken  seriously  ill  with  fever  and  died,  and 

1  Chrysanthemum. 

Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

whispers  went  abroad  that  Ajari  the  priest  had  cursed 
her  in  his  jealousy  and  brought  about  her  illness  and  her 
death.  The  rumour  was  not  exactly  without  reason,  for 
Ajari  went  mad  within  a  week  of  O  Kiku's  death.  He 
neglected  his  services,  and  then  got  worse,  running 
wildly  about  the  temple,  shrieking  at  night  and  frightening 
all  those  who  came  near.  Finally,  one  night  he  dug  up 
the  body  of  O  Kiku  and  ate  part  of  her  flesh. 

People  declared  that  he  had  turned  into  the  Devil,  and 
none  dared  go  near  the  temple  ;  even  the  younger  priests 
left,  until  at  last  he  was  alone.  So  terrified  were  the 
people,  none  approached  the  temple,  which  soon  ran  to 
rack  and  ruin.  Thorny  bushes  grew  on  the  roof,  moss 
on  the  hitherto  polished  and  matted  floors  ;  birds  built 
their  nests  inside,  perched  on  the  mortuary  tablets,  and 
made  a  mess  of  everything ;  the  temple,  which  had  once 
been  a  masterpiece  of  beauty,  became  a  rotting  ruin. 

One  summer  evening,  some  six  or  seven  months  later, 
an  old  woman  who  owned  a  tea-house  at  the  foot  of 
Shumongatake  Mountain  was  about  to  close  her  shutters 
when  she  was  terrified  at  the  sight  of  a  priest  with  a 
white  cap  on  his  head  approaching.  '  The  Devil  Priest  ! 
The  Devil  Priest !  *  she  cried  as  she  slammed  the  last 
shutter  in  his  face.  '  Get  away,  get  away  !  We  can't  have 
you  here/ 

'  What  do  you  mean  by  c<  Devil  Priest "  ?  I  am  a 
travelling  or  pilgrim  priest,  not  a  robber.  Let  me  in  at 
once,  for  I  want  both  rest  and  refreshment/  cried  the 
voice  from  outside.  The  old  woman  looked  through 
a  crack  in  the  shutters,  and  saw  that  it  was  not  the 
dreaded  maniac,  but  a  venerable  pilgrim  priest  :  so  she 




White  Bone  Mountain 

opened  the  door  and  let  him  in,  profuse  in  her  apologies, 
and  telling  him  how  they  were  all  frightened  out  of  their 
wits  by  the  priest  of  Fumonji  Temple  who  had  gone  mad 
over  a  love-affair. 

'  Oh,  sir,  it  is  truly  terrible  !  We  hardly  dare  go 
within  half  a  mile  of  the  temple  now,  and  some  day  the 
mad  priest  is  sure  to  come  out  of  it  and  kill  some 
of  us/ 

*  Do  you  mean  to  tell  me  that  a  priest  has  so  far 
forgotten  himself  as  to  break  through  the  teachings  of 
Buddha  and  make  himself  the  slave  of  worldly  passions  ? ' 
asked  the  traveller. 

' 1  don't  know  about  the  worldly  passions,'  cried  the 
old  lady  ;  '  but  our  priest  has  turned  into  a  devil,  as  all 
the  people  hereabouts  will  tell  you,  for  he  has  even  dug 
up  and  eaten  of  the  flesh  of  the  poor  girl  whom  he  caused 
to  die  by  his  cursing  ! ' 

4  There  have  been  instances  of  people  turning  devils/ 
said  the  priest  ;  c  but  they  are  usually  common  people 
and  not  priests.  A  courtier  of  the  Emperor  So's  turned 
into  a  serpent,  the  wife  of  Yosei  into  a  moth,  the  mother 
of  Ogan  into  a  Yasha l  ;  but  I  have  never  heard  of  a 
priest  turning  into  a  devil.  Besides,  Ajari  Joan,  your 
priest  at  Fumonji  Temple,  was  a  virtuous  and  clever  man, 
I  have  always  heard.  I  have  come  here,  in  fact,  to  do 
myself  the  honour  of  meeting  him,  and  to-morrow  I  shall 
go  and  see  him.' 

The  old  lady  served  the  priest  with  tea  and  begged 
him  to  think  of  no  such  thing  ;  but  he  persisted,  and 
said  that  on  the  morrow  he  would  do  as  he  mentioned, 

1  Vampire  bat. 

217  28 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

and  read  the  mad  priest  a  lecture  ;  and  then  he  laid  him- 
self down  to  rest  for  the  night. 

Next  afternoon  the  old  priest,  true  to  his  word,  started 
for  the  Fumonji  Temple,  the  old  lady  accompanying  him 
for  the  first  part  of  the  walk,  to  the  place  where  the  path 
which  led  to  the  temple  turned  up  the  mountain,  and 
there  she  bade  him  good-bye,  refusing  to  go  another  step. 

The  sun  was  beginning  to  set  as  the  priest  came  in 
sight  of  the  temple,  and  he  saw  that  the  place  was  in  great 
disorder.  The  gates  had  tumbled  off  their  hinges, 
withered  leaves  were  thickly  strewn  everywhere  and 
crumpled  under  his  feet  ;  but  he  walked  boldly  on,  and 
struck  a  small  temple-bell  with  his  staff.  At  the  sound 
came  many  birds  and  bats  from  the  temple,  the  bats 
flapping  round  his  head  ;  but  there  was  no  other  sign  of 
life.  He  struck  the  bell  again  with  renewed  force,  and  it 
boomed  and  clanged  in  echoes.  At  last  a  thin,  miserable- 
looking  priest  came  out,  and,  looking  wildly  about,  said  : 

'  Who  are  you,  and  why  have  you  come  here  ?  The 
temple  has  long  since  been  deserted,  for  some  reason 
which  I  cannot  understand.  If  you  want  lodging  you 
must  go  to  the  village.  There  is  neither  food  nor  bedding 

4 1  am  a  priest  from  Wakasa  Province.  The  pretty 
scenery  and  clear  streams  have  caused  me  to  linger  long  on 
my  journey.  It  is  too  late  now  to  go  to  the  village,  and 
I  am  too  tired  :  so  please  let  me  remain  for  the  night,' 
said  the  priest.  The  other  made  answer  : 

*  I  cannot  order  you  away.  This  place  is  no  longer 
more  than  a  ruined  shed.  You  can  stay  if  you  like  ;  but 
you  can  have  neither  food  nor  bedding/  Having  said 


White  Bone  Mountain 

this,  he  sat  on  the  corner  of  a  rock,  while  the  pilgrim 
priest  sat  on  another,  close  by.  Neither  spoke  until  it 
was  dark  and  the  moon  had  risen.  Then  the  mad  priest 
said,  *  Find  what  place  you  can  inside  to  sleep.  There 
are  no  beds  ;  but  what  there  is  of  the  roof  keeps  the 
mountain  dew  from  falling  on  you  during  the  night,  and 
it  falls  heavily  here  and  wets  you  through/  Then  he 
went  into  the  temple — the  pilgrim  priest  could  not  tell 
where,  for  it  was  dark  and  he  could  not  follow,  the 
place  being  littered  with  idols  and  beams  and  furniture 
which  the  mad  priest  had  hacked  to  pieces  in  the  early 
stages  of  his  madness.  The  pilgrim,  therefore,  felt  his 
way  about  until  he  found  himself  between  a  large  fallen 
idol  and  a  wall  ;  and  here  he  decided  to  spend  the  night, 
it  being  as  safe  a  place  in  which  to  hide  from  the  maniac 
as  any  he  could  find  without  knowing  his  way  about  or 
having  a  light.  Fortunately  for  himself,  he  was  a  strong 
and  healthy  old  man  and  was  well  able  to  do  without 
food,  and  also  to  stand  unharmed  the  piercing  and  damp 
cold.  The  pilgrim  priest  could  hear  the  sound  of  the 
many  streams  which  gurgled  down  the  mountain-side. 
There  was  also  the  unpleasant  sound  of  squeaking  rats 
as  they  chased  and  fought,  and  of  bats  which  flew  in  and 
out  of  the  place,  and  of  hooting  owls  ;  but  beyond  this 
nothing — nothing  of  the  mad  priest.  Hour  after  hour 
passed  thus  until  one  o'clock,  when  suddenly,  just  as  the 
pilgrim  felt  himself  dozing  off,  he  was  aroused  by  a  noise. 
The  whole  temple  seemed  as  if  it  were  being  knocked 
down.  Shutters  were  slammed  with  such  violence  that 
they  fell  to  the  floor  ;  right  and  left  idols  and  furniture 
were  being  hurled  about.  In  and  out  ran  the  sound  of 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

the    naked    pattering    feet    of    the    crazed    priest,    who 
shouted  : 

'  Oh,  where  is  the  beautiful  O  Kiku,  my  sweetly  beloved 
Kiku  ?  Oh,  where,  oh,  where  is  she  ?  The  gods  and  the 
devils  have  combined  to  defraud  me  of  her,  and  I  care  for 
neither  and  defy  them  all.  Kiku,  Kiku,  come  to  me  !  ' 

The  pilgrim,  thinking  his  cramped  position  would  be 
dangerous  if  the  maniac  came  near  him,  availed  himself 
of  an  opportunity,  when  the  latter  was  in  a  far-off  part 
of  the  temple,  to  get  out  into  the  grounds  and  hide  him- 
self again.  It  would  be  easier  to  see  what  went  on, 
thought  he,  and  to  run  if  necessary. 

He  hid  himself  first  in  one  part  of  the  grounds  and 
then  in  another.  Meanwhile  the  mad  priest  paid  several 
rushing  visits  to  the  outsides  of  the  temple,  keeping  up 
all  the  time  his  awful  cries  for  O  Kiku.  Towards 
morning  he  retired  once  more  to  the  part  of  the  temple 
in  which  he  lived,  and  no  more  noise  was  made.  Our 
pilgrim  then  went  forth  from  his  hiding,  and  seated 
himself  on  the  rock  which  he  had  occupied  the  evening 
before,  determined  to  see  if  he  could  not  force  a  con- 
versation with  the  demented  man  and  read  him  a  lesson 
from  the  sacred  teachings  of  Buddha.  He  sat  patiently 
on  until  the  sun  was  high  ;  but  all  remained  silent.  There 
was  no  sign  of  the  mad  priest. 

Towards  midday  the  pilgrim  heard  sounds  in  the 
temple  ;  and  by  and  by  the  madman  came  out,  looking 
as  if  he  had  just  recovered  from  a  drunken  orgy.  He 
appeared  dazed  and  was  quiet,  and  started  as  he  saw  the 
old  priest  seated  on  the  rock  as  he  had  been  the  night 
before.  The  old  man  rose,  and  approaching  him  said  : 


White  Bone  Mountain 

'  My  friend,  my  name  is  Ungai.  I  am  a  brother  priest 
— from  the  Temple  of  Daigoji,  in  Wakasa  Province.  I 
came  hither  to  see  you,  hearing  of  your  great  wisdom  ; 
but  last  night  I  heard  in  the  village  that  you  had  broken 
your  vows  as  a  priest  and  lost  your  heart  to  a  maiden, 
and  that  from  love  of  her  you  have  turned  into  a 
dangerous  demon.  I  have  in  consequence  considered 
it  my  duty  to  come  and  read  you  a  lecture,  as  it  is 
impossible  to  pass  your  conduct  unnoticed.  Pray  listen 
to  the  lecture  and  tell  me  if  I  can  help  you.' 

The  mad  priest  answered  quite  meekly  : 

'You  are  indeed  a  Buddha.  Please  tell  me  what  I 
can  do  to  forget  the  past,  and  to  become  a  holy  and 
virtuous  priest  once  more.' 

Ungai  answered  : 

'  Come  out  here  into  the  grounds  and  seat  yourself  on 
this  rock.'  Then  he  read  a  lecture  out  of  the  Buddhist 
Bible,  and  finished  by  saying,  '  And  now,  if  you  wish  to 
redeem  your  soul,  you  must  sit  on  this  rock  until  you 
are  able  to  explain  the  following  lines,  which  are  written 
in  this  sacred  book :  '  The  moon  on  the  lake  shines  on  the 
winds  between  the  pine  trees,  and  a  long  night  grows  quiet 
at  midnight!  Having  said  this,  Ungai  bowed  low  and 
left  the  mad  priest,  Joan,  seated  on  the  rock  reflecting. 

For  a  month  Ungai  wandered  from  temple  to  temple, 
lecturing.  At  the  end  of  that  time  he  came  back  by  way 
of  Fumonji  Temple,  and  thought  he  would  go  up  to  it 
and  see  what  had  happened  to  mad  Joan.  At  the  tea- 
house at  which  he  had  first  put  up  he  asked  the  old  land- 
lady if  she  had  seen  or  heard  any  more  of  the  crazy  priest. 

'  No,'  she  said  :   '  we  have  neither  seen  nor  heard  of 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

him.  Some  people  say  he  has  left  ;  but  no  one  knows, 
for  none  dare  go  up  to  the  temple  to  see/ 

4  Well/  said  Ungai,  c  I  will  go  up  to-morrow  morning 
and  find  out/ 

Next  morning  Ungai  went  to  the  temple,  and  found 
Joan  still  seated  exactly  as  he  had  left  him  on  the  rock 
muttering  the  words  :  c  The  moon  on  the  lake  shines  on  the 
winds  between  the  fine  trees,  and  a  long  night  grows  quiet 
at  midnight ! '  Joan's  hair  and  beard  had  become  long  and 
grey  in  the  time,  and  he  appeared  to  be  miserably  thin 
and  almost  transparent.  Ungai  was  struck  with  pity  at 
Joan's  righteous  determination  and  patience,  and  tears 
came  to  his  eyes. 

'  Get  up,  get  up/  said  he,  '  for  indeed  you  are  a  holy 
and  determined  man/ 

But  Joan  did  not  move.  Ungai  poked  him  with  his 
staff,  to  awaken  him,  as  he  thought ;  but,  to  his  horror, 
Joan  fell  to  pieces,  and  disappeared  like  a  flake  of  melting 

Ungai  stayed  in  the  temple  for  three  days,  praying 
for  the  soul  of  Joan.  The  villagers,  hearing  of  this 
generous  action,  rebuilt  the  temple  and  made  him  their 
priest.  Their  temple  had  formerly  belonged  to  the  Mitsu 
sect ;  but  now  it  was  transferred  to  Ungai's  '  Jo  do '  sect, 
and  the  title  or  name  of  '  Fumonji '  was  changed  to 
'  Hakkotsuzan '  (White  Bone  Mountain).  The  temple 
is  said  to  have  prospered  for  hundreds  of  years  after. 



ALL  who  have  read  anything  of  Japanese  history  must 
have  heard  of  Saigo  Takamori,  who  lived  between  the 
years  1827  and  1877.  He  was  a  great  Imperialist,  fighting 
for  the  Emperor  until  1876,  when  he  gave  over  owing 
to  his  disapproval  of  the  Europeanisation  going  on  in  the 
country  and  the  abandonment  of  ancient  national  ways. 
As  practical  Commander-in-Chief  of  the  Imperial  Army, 
Saigo  fled  to  Kagoshima,  where  he  raised  a  body  of 
faithful  followers,  which  was  the  beginning  of  the  Satsuma 
Rebellion.  The  Imperialists  defeated  them,  and  in 
September  of  1877  Saigo  was  killed — some  say  in  the  last 
battle,  and  others  that  he  did  '  seppuku,'  and  that  his  head 
was  cut  off  and  secretly  buried,  so  that  it  should  not  fall 
into  the  hands  of  his  enemies.  Saigo  Takamori  was 
highly  honoured  even  by  the  Imperialists.  It  is  hard  to 
call  him  a  rebel.  He  did  not  rebel  against  his  Emperor, 
but  only  against  the  revolting  idea  of  becoming  European- 
ised.  Who  can  say  that  he  was  not  right  ?  He  was  a 
man  of  fine  sentiment  and  great  loyalty.  Should  all  of  us 

1  Fukuga  told  me  this  story  and  vouches  for  its  accuracy. 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

follow  meekly  the  Imperial  order  in  England  if  we  were 
told  that  we  were  to  practise  the  manners  and  customs  of 
South  Sea  Islanders  ?  That  would  be  hardly  less  revolt- 
ing to  us  than  Europeanisation  was  to  Saigo. 

In  the  first  year  of  Meiji  1868  the  Tokugawa  army 
had  been  badly  beaten  by  Saigo  at  Fushimi,  and  Field- 
Marshal  Tokugawa  Keiki  had  the  greatest  difficulty  in 
getting  down  to  the  sea  and  escaping  to  Yedo.  The 
Imperial  army  proceeded  along  the  Tokaido  road, 
determined  to  break  up  the  Tokugawa  force.  Their 
advance  guard  had  reached  Hiratsuka,  under  Mount 
Fuji,  on  the  coast. 

It  was  a  spring  day,  the  5th  of  April,  and  the  cherry 
trees  were  in  full  bloom.  The  country  folk  had  come  in 
to  see  the  victorious  troops,  who  formed  the  advance 
guard  of  those  who  had  beaten  the  Tokugawa.  There 
were  many  beggars  about,  together  with  pedlars  and 
sellers  of  sweets,  roasted  potatoes,  and  what-not.  To- 
wards evening  clouds  came  over  the  skies  ;  at  five  o'clock 
rain  began  ;  at  six  every  one  was  under  cover. 

At  the  principal  inn  were  a  party  of  the  Headquarters' 
Staff  officers,  including  the  gallant  Saigo.  They  were 
making  the  best  of  the  bad  weather,  and  not  feeling 
particularly  lively,  when  they  heard  the  soft  and  melodious 
notes  of  the  shakuhachi  at  the  gate. 

<  That  is  the  poor  blind  beggar  we  saw  playing  near 
the  temple  to-day/  said  one.  '  Yes  :  so  it  is,'  said 
another.  *  The  poor  fellow  must  be  very  wet  and 
miserable.  Let  us  call  him  in.' 

c  A  capital  idea,'  assented  all  of  them,  among  whom 
was  Saigo  Takamori.  '  We  will  have  him  in  and  raise  a 



A  Stormy  Night's  Tragedy 

subscription  for  him  if  he  can  raise  our  spirits  in  this 
weather.'  They  gave  the  landlord  an  order  to  admit  the 
blind  flute-player. 

The  poor  man  was  led  in  by  a  side  door  and  brought 
into  the  presence  of  the  officers.  '  Gentlemen/  said  he, 
'  you  have  done  me  a  very  great  honour,  and  a  kindness, 
for  it  is  not  pleasant  to  stand  outside  playing  in  the  rain 
with  cotton  clothes  on.  I  think  I  can  repay  you,  for  I 
am  said  to  play  the  shakuhachi  well.  Since  I  have  been 
blind  it  has  become  my  only  pleasure,  and  not  only  that 
but  also  my  only  means  of  living.  It  is  hard  now  in  these 
unsettled  days,  when  everything  is  upside-down,  to  earn 
a  living.  Not  many  travellers  come  to  the  inns  while 
the  Imperial  troops  occupy  them.  These  are  hard  days, 

'  They  may  be  hard  days  for  you,  poor  blind  fellow  ; 
but  say  nothing  against  the  Imperial  troops,  for  we  have 
to  be  suspicious,  there  being  spies  of  the  Tokugawa. 
Three  eyes,  indeed,  does  each  of  us  need  in  his  head.7 

'  Well,  well,  I  have  no  wish  to  say  aught  against  the 
Imperial  troops/  said  the  blind  man.  '  All  I  have  to 
say  is  that  it  is  precious  hard  for  a  blind  man  to  earn 
enough  rice  wherewith  to  fill  his  stomach.  Only  once 
a-week  on  an  average  am  I  called  to  play  to  private 
parties  or  to  shampoo  some  rheumatic  person  such  as  this 
wet  weather  produces  —  the  blessing  of  the  Gods  be 
on  it  ! ' 

'  Well,  we  will  see  what  we  can  do  for  you,  poor  fellow/ 
said  Saigo.  c  Go  round  the  room,  and  see  what  you  can 
collect,  and  then  we  will  start  the  concert.' 

Matsuichi  did  as  he  was  bid,  and  returned  to  Saigo 

225  29 

Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

some  ten  minutes  later  with  five  or  six  yen,  to  which 
Saigo  added,  saying  : 

'  There,  poor  fellow  :  what  do  you  think  of  that  ? 
Say  no  more  that  the  Imperial  troops  cause  you  to  have 
an  empty  belly.  Say,  rather,  that  if  you  lived  near  them 
long  the  skin  of  your  belly  might  become  so  overstretched 
as  to  cause  you  perforce  to  open  your  eyes,  and  then 
indeed  you  might  find  yourself  put  about  for  a  trade. 
But  let  us  hear  your  music.  We  are  dull  of  spirit 
to-night,  and  want  enlivening/ 

*  Oh,  gentlemen,  this  is  too  much,  far  too  much,  for 
my  poor  music  !  Take  some  of  it  back.' 

'  No,  no/  they  answered.  '  We  are  troops  and  officers 
of  the  Imperial  Army  :  our  lives  are  uncertain  from  day 
to  day.  It  is  a  pleasure  to  give,  and  to  enjoy  music  when 
we  can/ 

The  blind  man  began  to  play,  and  he  played  long  and 
late.  Sometimes  his  airs  were  lively,  and  at  other  times 
as  mournful  as  the  spring  wind  which  blew  through  the 
cherry  trees  ;  but  his  manner  was  enchanting,  and  all  were 
grateful  to  him  for  having  afforded  a  night's  amusement. 
At  eleven  o'clock  the  concert  finished  and  they  went  to 
rest  ;  the  blind  beggar  left  the  inn  ;  and  Kato  Shichibei, 
the  proprietor,  locked  it  up,  in  spite  of  the  sentries  posted 

The  inn  was  surrounded  by  hedges,  and  several  clumps 
of  bamboos  stood  in  the  corners.  At  the  far  end  was  an 
artificial  mountain  with  a  lake  at  its  foot,  and  near  the 
lake  a  little  summer-house  over  which  towered  a  huge  and 
ancient  pine  tree,  one  of  the  branches  of  which  stretched 
right  back  over  the  roof  of  the  inn.  At  about  one  o'clock 


A  Stormy  Night's  Tragedy 

in  the  morning  the  form  of  a  man  might  have  been  seen 
stealthily  climbing  this  huge  tree  until  he  had  reached  the 
branch  which  hung  over  the  inn.  There  he  stretched 
himself  flat,  and  began  squirming  along,  evidently  intent 
upon  reaching  the  upper  floor  of  the  house.  Unfortun- 
ately for  himself,  he  cracked  a  small  branch  of  dead  wood, 
and  the  sound  caused  a  sentry  to  look  up.  4  Who  goes 
there  ?  '  cried  he,  bringing  his  musket  round  ;  but  there 
was  no  answer.  The  sentry  shouted  for  help,  and  it  was 
not  more  than  twenty  seconds  before  the  whole  house  was 
up  and  out.  No  escape  for  the  man  on  the  tree  was 
possible.  He  was  taken  prisoner.  Imagine  the  astonish- 
ment of  all  when  they  found  that  he  was  the  blind  beggar, 
but  now  not  blind  at  all ;  his  eyes  flashed  fire  of  indigna- 
tion at  his  captors,  for  the  great  plan  of  his  young  life 
was  dead. 

'  Who  is  he  ? '  cried  one  and  all,  '  and  why  the  trickery 
of  being  blind  last  evening  ? ' 

'  A  spy — that  is  what  he  is  !  A  Tokugawa  spy/ 
said  one.  c  Take  him  to  Headquarters,  so  that  the  chief 
officers  may  interrogate  him  ;  and  be  careful  to  hold  his 
hands,  for  he  has  every  appearance  of  being  a  samurai 
and  a  fighter.' 

And  so  the  prisoner  was  led  off  to  the  Temple  of 
Hommonji,  where  the  Headquarters  of  the  Staff 
temporarily  were. 

The  prisoner  was  brought  into  the  presence  of  Saigo 
Takamori  and  four  other  Imperial  officers,  one  of  whom 
was  Katsura  Kogoro.  He  was  made  to  kneel.  Then 
Saigo,  who  was  the  Chief,  said,  '  Hold  your  head  up  and 
give  us  your  name/ 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

The  prisoner  answered  : 

4 1  am  Watanabe  Tatsuzo.  I  am  one  of  those  who 
have  the  honour  of  belonging  to  the  bodyguard  of  the 
Tokugawa  Government.' 

'  You  are  bold,'  said  Saigo.  '  Will  you  have  the 
goodness  to  tell  us  why  you  have  been  masquerading  as 
a  blind  beggar,  and  why  you  were  caught  in  an  attempt 
to  break  into  the  inn  ? ' 

'  I  found  that  the  Imperial  Ambassador  was  sleeping 
there,  and  our  cause  is  not  bettered  by  killing  ordinary 
officers  ! ' 

'  You  are  a  fool,'  answered  Saigo.  *  How  much  better 
would  you  find  yourself  off  if  you  killed  Yanagiwara, 
Hashimoto,  or  Katsura  ? ' 

'  Your  question  is  stupid,'  was  the  unabashed  answer. 
'  Every  man  of  us  does  his  little.  My  efforts  are  only 
a  fragment  ;  but  little  by  little  we  shall  gain  our  ends.' 

'  Have  you  a  comrade  here  ? '  asked  Saigo. 

*  Oh,  no/  answered  the  prisoner.    {  We  act  individually 
as  we  think  best  for  the  cause.     It  was  my  intention  to 
kill  any  one  of  importance  whose  death  might  strengthen 
us.     I  was  acting  entirely  as  I  thought  best.' 

And  Saigo  said  : 

*  Your  loyalty  does  you  credit,  and  I  admire  you  for 
that  ;  but  you  should  recognise  that  after  the  last  victory 
of  the  Imperial  troops  at  Fushimi  the  Tokugawa's  tenure 
of  office,  extending  over  three  hundred  years,  has  come 
to  an  end.     It  is  only  natural  that  this  Imperial  family 
should  return  to  power.     Your  intention  is  presumably 
to   support   a  power   that  is  finished.     Have  you  never 
heard   the  proverb  which  says  that  "  No  single  support 


A  Stormy  Night's  Tragedy 

can  hold  a  falling  tower  "  ?  Now  tell  me  truthfully  the 
absurd  ideas  which  appear  to  exist  in  your  mind.  Do 
you  really  think  that  the  Tokugawa  have  any  further 
chance  ? ' 

*  If  you  were  any  other  than  the  heroic  or  admirable 
Saigo  I  should  refuse  to  answer  these  questions/  said  the 
prisoner  ;  c  but,  as  you  are  the  great  Saigo  Takamori  and 
I  admire  your  loyalty  and  courage,  I  will  confess  that 
after  our  defeat  some  two  hundred  of  us  samurai  formed 
into  a  society  swearing  to  sacrifice  our  lives  to  the  cause 
in  any  way  that  we  were  able.  I  regret  to  say  that  nearly 
all  ran  away,  and  that  I  am  (as  far  as  I  am  able  to  judge) 
about  the  only  one  left.  As  you  will  execute  me,  there 
will  be  none/ 

'  Stop,'  cried  Saigo  :  '  say  no  more.  Let  me  ask  you  : 
Will  you  not  join  us?  Look  upon  the  Tokugawa  as 
dead.  Too  many  faithful  but  ignorant  samurai  have  died 
for  them.  The  Imperial  family  must  reign  :  nine-tenths 
of  the  country  demand  it.  Though  your  guilt  stands 
confessed,  your  loyalty  is  admirable,  and  we  should 
gladly  take  you  to  our  side.  Think  before  you  answer.' 

No  thought  was  necessary.  Watanabe  Tatsuzo 
answered  instantly. 

'No — never.  Though  alone,  I  will  not  be  unfaithful 
to  my  cause.  You  had  better  behead  me  before  the  day 
dawns.  I  see  the  strength  of  your  arguments  that  the 
Imperial  family  must  and  should  reign  ;  but  that  cannot 
alter  my  decision  with  regard  to  my  own  fate.' 

Saigo  stood  up  and  said  : 

1  Here  is  a  man  whom  we  must  respect.  There  are 
many  Tokugawa  who  have  joined  our  cause  through  fear  ; 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

but  they  retain  hate  in  their  hearts.  Look,  all  of  you,  at 
this  Watanabe,  and  forget  him  not,  for  he  is  a  noble  man 
and  true  to  the  death/  So  saying,  Saigo  bowed  to 
Watanabe,  and  then,  turning  to  the  guard,  said  : 

4  Take  the  prisoner  to  the  Sambon  matsu,1  and  behead 
him  as  soon  as  the  day  dawns/ 

Watanabe  Tatsuzo  was  led  forth  and  executed 

There  is  a  cross-road  on  the  way  leading  to  Mariko, 
to  the  right  of  the  Nitta  Ferry,  some  five  or  six  cho  from 
the  hill  where  is  the  Hommonji  Temple,  Ikegami,  in 
Ebaragun,  Tokio  fu,  where  there  is  a  little  grave  with  a 
tombstone  over  it  and  the  characters  : 

written  thereon.  They  mean  Tomb  of  Futetsu-shi,  and  it 
is  here  that  Watanabe  Tatsuzo  is  said  to  have  been 

1  Thi-ee  Pines. 



DOWN  the  Inland  Sea  between  Umedaichi  and  Kure  (now 
a  great  naval  port)  and  in  the  province  of  Aid,  there  is  a 
small  village  called  Yaiyama,  in  which  lived  a  painter  of 
some  note,  Abe  Tenko.  Abe  Tenko  taught  more  than 
he  painted,  and  relied  for  his  living  mostly  on  the  small 
means  to  which  he  had  succeeded  at  his  father's  death  and 
on  the  aspiring  artists  who  boarded  in  the  village  for  the 
purpose  of  taking  daily  lessons  from  him.  The  island 
and  rock  scenery  in  the  neighbourhood  afforded  continual 
study,  and  Tenko  was  never  short  of  pupils.  Among 
them  was  one  scarcely  more  than  a  boy,  being  only 
seventeen  years  of  age.  His  name  was  Sawara  Kameju, 
and  a  most  promising  pupil  he  was.  He  had  been  sent 
to  Tenko  over  a  year  before,  when  scarce  sixteen  years 
of  age,  and,  for  the  reason  that  Tenko  had  been  a  friend 
of  his  father,  Sawara  was  taken  under  the  roof  of  the 
artist  and  treated  as  if  he  had  been  his  son. 

1  About  two  hundred  and  fifty  years  ago  a  strange  legend  was  attached  to  a  kakemono 
which  was  painted  by  an  artist  celebrity,  Sawara  Kameju  by  name,  and,  owing  to  the 
reasons  given  in  the  story,  the  kakemono  was  handed  over  to  the  safe-keeping  of  the 
head  priest  of  the  Korinji  Temple. 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

Tenko  had  had  a  sister  who  went  into  the  service  of 
the  Lord  of  Aki,  by  whom  she  had  a  daughter.  Had 
the  child  been  a  son,  it  would  have  been  adopted  into  the 
Aki  family  ;  but,  being  a  daughter,  it  was,  according  to 
Japanese  custom,  sent  back  to  its  mother's  family,  with 
the  result  that  Tenko  took  charge  of  the  child,  whose 
name  was  Kimi.  The  mother  being  dead,  the  child  had 
lived  with  him  for  sixteen  years.  Our  story  opens  with 
O  Kimi  grown  into  a  pretty  girl. 

O  Kimi  was  a  most  devoted  adopted  daughter  to 
Tenko.  She  attended  almost  entirely  to  his  household 
affairs,  and  Tenko  looked  upon  her  as  if  indeed  she  were 
his  own  daughter,  instead  of  an  illegitimate  niece,  trusting 
her  in  everything. 

After  the  arrival  of  the  young  student  O  Kimi's  heart 
gave  her  much  trouble.  She  fell  in  love  with  him.  Sawara 
admired  O  Kimi  greatly  ;  but  of  love  he  never  said  a 
word,  being  too  much  absorbed  in  his  study.  He  looked 
upon  Kimi  as  a  sweet  girl,  taking  his  meals  with  her  and 
enjoying  her  society.  He  would  have  fought  for  her, 
and  he  loved  her  ;  but  he  never  gave  himself  time  to 
think  that  she  was  not  his  sister,  and  that  he  might  make 
love  to  her.  So  it  came  to  pass  at  last  that  O  Kimi  one 
day,  with  the  pains  of  love  in  her  heart,  availed  herself  of 
her  guardian's  absence  at  the  temple,  whither  he  had  gone 
to  paint  something  for  the  priests.  O  Kimi  screwed  up 
her  courage  and  made  love  to  Sawara.  She  told  him  that 
since  he  had  come  to  the  house  her  heart  had  known  no 
peace.  She  loved  him,  and  would  like  to  marry  him  if 
he  did  not  mind. 

This  simple  and  maidenlike  request,  accompanied  by 


THE    GHOST    OF    THE    '  KAKEMONO  ' 

The  Kakemono  Ghost  of  Aki  Province 

the  offer  of  tea,  was  more  than  young  Sawara  was  able  to 
answer  without  acquiescence.  After  all,  it  did  not  much 
matter,  thought  he  :  *  Kimi  is  a  most  beautiful  and 
charming  girl,  and  I  like  her  very  much,  and  must  marry 
some  day/ 

So  Sawara  told  Kimi  that  he  loved  her  and  would  be 
only  too  delighted  to  marry  her  when  his  studies  were 
complete — say  two  or  three  years  thence.  Kimi  was 
overjoyed,  and  on  the  return  of  the  good  Tenko  from 
Korinji  Temple  informed  her  guardian  of  what  had 

Sawara  set  to  with  renewed  vigour,  and  worked 
diligently,  improving  very  much  in  his  style  of  painting  ; 
and  after  a  year  Tenko  thought  it  would  do  him  good  to 
finish  off  his  studies  in  Kyoto  under  an  old  friend  of  his 
own,  a  painter  named  Sumiyoshi  Myokei.  Thus  it  was 
that  in  the  spring  of  the  sixth  year  of  Kioho — that  is,  in 
1721 — Sawara  bade  farewell  to  Tenko  and  his  pretty 
niece  O  Kimi,  and  started  forth  to  the  capital.  It  was  a 
sad  parting.  Sawara  had  grown  to  love  Kimi  very  deeply, 
and  he  vowed  that  as  soon  as  his  name  was  made  he 
would  return  and  marry  her. 

In  the  olden  days  the  Japanese  were  even  more 
shockingly  poor  correspondents  than  they  are  now,  and 
even  lovers  or  engaged  couples  did  not  write  to  each 
other,  as  several  of  my  tales  may  show. 

After  Sawara  had  been  away  for  a  year,  it  seemed  that 
he  should  write  and  say  at  all  events  how  he  was  getting 
on  ;  but  he  did  not  do  so.  A  second  year  passed,  and 
still  there  was  no  news.  In  the  meantime  there  had  been 
several  admirers  of  O  Kimi's  who  had  proposed  to  Tenko 

233  30 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

for  her  hand  ;  but  Tenko  had  invariably  said  that  Kimi 
San  was  already  engaged — until  one  day  he  heard  from 
Myokei,  the  painter  in  Kyoto,  who  told  him  that  Sawara 
was  making  splendid  progress,  and  that  he  was  most 
anxious  that  the  youth  should  marry  his  daughter.  He 
felt  that  he  must  ask  his  old  friend  Tenko  first,  and 
before  speaking  to  Sawara. 

Tenko,  on  the  other  hand,  had  an  application  from  a 
rich  merchant  for  O  Kimi's  hand.  What  was  Tenko  to 
do  ?  Sawara  showed  no  signs  of  returning ;  on  the 
contrary,  it  seemed  that  Myokei  was  anxious  to  get  him 
to  marry  into  his  family.  That  must  be  a  good  thing  for 
Sawara,  he  thought.  Myokei  is  a  better  teacher  than  I, 
and  if  Sawara  marries  his  daughter  he  will  take  more 
interest  than  ever  in  my  old  pupil.  Also,  it  is  advisable 
that  Kimi  should  marry  that  rich  young  merchant,  if  I 
can  persuade  her  to  do  so  ;  but  it  will  be  difficult,  for  she 
loves  Sawara  still.  I  am  afraid  he  has  forgotten  her.  A 
little  strategy  I  will  try,  and  tell  her  that  Myokei  has 
written  to  tell  me  that  Sawara  is  going  to  marry  his 
daughter  ;  then,  possibly,  she  may  feel  sufficiently 
vengeful  to  agree  to  marry  the  young  merchant. 
Arguing  thus  to  himself,  he  wrote  to  Myokei  to  say  that 
he  had  his  full  consent  to  ask  Sawara  to  be  his  son-in-law, 
and  he  wished  him  every  success  in  the  effort ;  and  in 
the  evening  he  spoke  to  Kimi. 

'  Kimi/  he  said,  '  to-day  I  have  had  news  of  Sawara 
through  my  friend  Myokei.' 

'  Oh,  do  tell  me  what ! '  cried  the  excited  Kimi.  '  Is 
he  coming  back,  and  has  he  finished  his  education  ?  How 
delighted  I  shall  be  to  see  him  !  We  can  be  married  in 


The  Kakemono  Ghost  of  Aki  Province 

April,  when  the  cherry  blooms,  and  he  can  paint  a  picture 
of  our  first  picnic.' 

' 1  fear,  Kimi,  the  news  which  I  have  does  not  talk  of 
his  coming  back.  On  the  contrary,  I  am  asked  by 
Myokei  to  allow  Sawara  to  marry  his  daughter,  and,  as 
I  think  such  a  request  could  not  have  been  made  had 
Sawara  been  faithful  to  you,  I  have  answered  that  I  have 
no  objection  to  the  union.  And  now,  as  for  yourself, 
I  deeply  regret  to  tell  you  this  ;  but  as  your  uncle  and 
guardian  I  again  wish  to  impress  upon  you  the  advisability 
of  marrying  Yorozuya,  the  young  merchant,  who  is 
deeply  in  love  with  you  and  in  every  way  a  most  desirable 
husband  ;  indeed,  I  must  insist  upon  it,  for  I  think  it 
most  desirable/ 

Poor  O  Kimi  San  broke  into  tears  and  deep  sobs,  and 
without  answering  a  word  went  to  her  room,  where 
Tenko  thought  it  well  to  leave  her  alone  for  the  night. 

In  the  morning  she  had  gone,  none  knew  whither, 
there  being  no  trace  of  her. 

Up  in  Kyoto  Sawara  continued  his  studies,  true  and 
faithful  to  O  Kimi.  After  receiving  Tenko's  letter 
approving  of  Myokei's  asking  Sawara  to  become  his  son- 
in-law,  Myokei  asked  Sawara  if  he  would  so  honour  him. 
*  When  you  marry  my  daughter,  we  shall  be  a  family  of 
painters,  and  I  think  you  will  be  one  of  the  most 
celebrated  ones  that  Japan  ever  had.' 

*  But,  sir,'  cried  Sawara,  '  I  cannot  do  myself  the 
honour  of  marrying  your  daughter,  for  I  am  already 
engaged — I  have  been  for  the  last  three  years — to  Kimi, 
Tenko's  daughter.  It  is  most  strange  that  he  should  not 
have  told  you  ! ' 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

There  was  nothing  for  Myokei  to  say  to  this  ;  but 
there  was  much  for  Sawara  to  think  about.  Foolish, 
perhaps  he  then  thought,  were  the  ways  of  Japanese  in  not 
corresponding  more  freely.  He  wrote  to  Kimi  twice, 
Accordingly,  but  no  answer  came.  Then  Myokei  fell  ill 
of  a  chill  and  died  :  so  Sawara  returned  to  his  village 
home  in  Aki,  where  he  was  welcomed  by  Tenko,  who  was 
now,  without  O  Kimi,  lonely  in  his  old  age. 

When  Sawara  heard  that  Kimi  had  gone  away  leaving 
neither  address  nor  letter  he  was  very  angry,  for  he  had 
not  been  told  the  reason. 

'  An  ungrateful  and  bad  girl/  said  he  to  Tenko,  c  and 
I  have  been  lucky  indeed  in  not  marrying  her  !  ' 

*  Yes,  yes,'  said  Tenko  :  '  you  have  been  lucky  ;  but 
you  must  not  be  too  angry.  Women  are  queer  things, 
and,  as  the  saying  goes,  when  you  see  water  running  up 
hill  and  hens  laying  square  eggs  you  may  expect  to  see 
a  truly  honest-minded  woman.  But  come  now — I  want 
to  tell  you  that,  as  I  am  growing  old  and  feeble,  I  wish 
to  make  you  the  master  of  my  house  and  property  here. 
You  must  take  my  name  and  marry  ! ' 

Feeling  disgusted  at  O  Kimi's  conduct,  Sawara  readily 
consented.  A  pretty  young  girl,  the  daughter  of  a 
wealthy  farmer,  was  found — Kiku  (the  Chrysanthemum)  ; 
— and  she  and  Sawara  lived  happily  with  old  Tenko, 
keeping  his  house  and  minding  his  estate.  Sawara 
painted  in  his  spare  time.  Little  by  little  he  became  quite 
famous.  One  day  the  Lord  of  Aki  sent  for  him  and  said 
it  was  his  wish  that  Sawara  should  paint  the  seven 
beautiful  scenes  of  the  Islands  of  Kabakarijima  (six,  prob- 
ably) ;  the  pictures  were  to  be  mounted  on  gold  screens. 


The  Kakemono  Ghost  of  Aki  Province 

This  was  the  first  commission  that  Sawara  had  had 
from  such  a  high  official.  He  was  very  proud  of  it,  and 
went  off  to  the  Upper  and  Lower  Kabakari  Islands,  where 
he  made  rough  sketches.  He  went  also  to  the  rocky 
islands  of  Shokokujima,  and  to  the  little  uninhabited 
island  of  Daikokujima,  where  an  adventure  befell  him. 

Strolling  along  the  shore,  he  met  a  girl,  tanned  by  sun 
and  wind.  She  wore  only  a  red  cotton  cloth  about  her 
loins,  and  her  hair  fell  upon  her  shoulders.  She  had  been 
gathering  shell-fish,  and  had  a  basket  of  them  under  her 
arm.  Sawara  thought  it  strange  that  he  should  meet  a 
single  woman  in  so  wild  a  place,  and  more  so  still  when 
she  addressed  him,  saying,  '  Surely  you  are  Sawara 
Kameju — are  you  not  ? ' 

'  Yes/  answered  Sawara  :  '  I  am  ;  but  it  is  very  strange 
that  you  should  know  me.  May  I  ask  how  you  do  so  ? ' 

'  If  you  are  Sawara,  as  I  know  you  are,  you  should 
know  me  without  asking,  for  I  am  no  other  than  Kimi, 
to  whom  you  were  engaged  ! ' 

Sawara  was  astonished,  and  hardly  knew  what  to  say  : 
so  he  asked  her  questions  as  to  how  she  had  come  to  this 
lonely  island.  O  Kimi  explained  everything,  and  ended 
by  saying,  with  a  smile  of  happiness  upon  her  face  : 

'  And  since,  my  dearest  Sawara,  I  understand  that  what 
I  was  told  is  false,  and  that  you  did  not  marry  Myokei's 
daughter,  and  that  we  have  been  faithful  to  each  other, 
we  can  be  married  and  happy  after  all.  Oh,  think  how 
happy  we  shall  be  ! ' 

4  Alas,  alas,  my  dearest  Kimi,  it  cannot  be  !  I  was  led 
to  suppose  that  you  had  deserted  our  benefactor  Tenko 
and  given  up  all  thought  of  me.  Oh,  the  sadness  of  it 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

all,  the  wickedness  !     I  have  been  persuaded  that  you  were 
faithless,  and  have  been  made  to  marry  another ! ' 

O  Kimi  made  no  answer,  but  began  to  run  along  the 
shore  towards  a  little  hut,  which  home  she  had  made  for 
herself.  She  ran  fast,  and  Sawara  ran  after  her,  calling, 
'  Kimi,  Kimi,  stop  and  speak  to  me '  ;  but  Kimi  did  not 
stop.  She  gained  her  hut,  and,  seizing  a  knife,  plunged 
it  into  her  throat,  and  fell  back  bleeding  to  death. 
Sawara,  greatly  grieved,  burst  into  tears.  It  was  horrible 
to  see  the  girl  who  might  have  been  his  bride  lying  dead 
at  his  feet  all  covered  with  blood,  and  having  suffered  so 
horrible  a  death  at  her  own  hands.  Greatly  impressed, 
he  drew  paper  from  his  pocket  and  made  a  sketch  of  the 
body.  Then  he  and  his  boatman  buried  O  Kimi  above 
the  tide-mark  near  the  primitive  hut.  Afterwards,  at 
home,  with  a  mournful  heart,  he  painted  a  picture  of  the 
dead  girl,  and  hung  it  in  his  room. 

On  the  first  night  that  it  was  hung  Sawara  had  a 
dreadful  dream.  On  awakening  he  found  the  figure  on 
the  kakemono  seemed  to  be  alive  :  the  ghost  of  O  Kimi 
stepped  out  of  it  and  stood  near  his  bed.  Night  after 
night  the  ghost  appeared,  until  sleep  and  rest  for  Sawara 
were  no  longer  possible.  There  was  nothing  to  be  done, 
thought  he,  but  to  send  his  wife  back  to  her  parents, 
which  he  did  ;  and  the  kakemono  he  presented  to  the 
Korinji  Temple,  where  the  priests  kept  it  with  great  care 
and  daily  prayed  for  the  spirit  of  O  Kimi  San.  After 
that  Sawara  saw  the  ghost  no  more. 

The  kakemono  is  called  the  Ghost  Picture  of  Tenko 
II.,  and  is  said  to  be  still  kept  in  the  Korinji  Temple, 
where  it  was  placed  some  230  to  240  years  ago. 



Two  thousand  or  more  years  ago  Lake  Biwa,  in  Omi 
Province,  and  Mount  Fuji,  in  Suruga  Province,  came  into 
being  in  one  night.  Though  my  story  relates  this  as  fact, 
you  are  fully  entitled  to  say,  should  you  feel  so  inclined, 
c  Wonderful  indeed  are  the  ways  of  Nature '  ;  but  do  so 
respectfully,  if  you  please,  and  without  levity,  for  other- 
wise you  will  grossly  offend  and  will  not  understand  the 
ethical  ideas  of  Japanese  folklore  stones. 

Well,  at  the  time  of  this  extraordinary  geographical 
event,  there  lived  one  Yurine,  a  man  of  poor  means  even 
for  those  days.  He  loved  sake  wine,  and  scarcely  ever 
spent  a  day  without  drinking  some  of  it.  Yurine  lived 
near  the  place  which  is  now  called  Sudzukawa,  a  little 
to  the  north  of  the  river  known  as  Fujikawa. 

On  the  day  which  followed  Fuji  San's  appearance 
Yurine  became  ill,  and  was  in  consequence  unable  to  drink 
his  cup  of  sake.  He  became  worse  and  worse,  and,  at 
last  feeling  that  there  could  be  no  hope  for  him,  decided 
to  give  himself  the  pleasure  of  drinking  a  cup  before  he 
died.  Accordingly  he  called  to  himself  his  only  son, 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

Koyuri,  a  boy  of  fourteen  years,  and  told  him  to  go  and 
fetch  him  a  cup  or  two  of  the  wine.  Koyuri  was  sorely 
perplexed.  He  had  no  sake  in  the  house,  and  there  was 
not  a  single  coin  left  wherewith  to  buy.  This  he  did  not 
like  to  tell  his  father,  fearing  that  the  unpleasant  state  of 
affairs  might  make  him  worse.  So  he  took  his  gourd, 
and  went  wandering  along  the  beach,  wondering  how  he 
could  get  what  his  father  wanted.  While  thus  employed 
Koyuri  heard  a  voice  calling  him  by  name.  As  he  looked 
up  towards  the  pines  which  fringed  the  beach,  he  saw  a 
man  and  a  woman  sitting  beneath  an  immense  tree  ;  their 
hair  was  a  scarlet  red,  and  so  were  their  bodies.  At  first 
Koyuri  was  afraid, — he  had  never  seen  their  like  before, — 
but  the  voice  was  kindly,  and  the  man  was  making  signs 
to  him  to  approach.  Koyuri  did  so  in  fear  and  trembling, 
but  with  that  coolness  which  characterises  the  Japanese 

As  Koyuri  approached  the  strange  people  he  noticed 
that  they  were  drinking  sake  from  large  flat  cups  known 
as  '  sakadzuki,'  and  that  on  the  sand  beside  them  was  an 
immense  jar,  from  which  they  took  the  liquor  ;  moreover, 
he  noticed  that  the  sake  was  whiter  than  any  he  had  seen 

Thinking  always  of  his  father,  Koyuri  unslung  his 
gourd,  reported  his  father's  illness,  and  begged  for  sake. 
The  red  man  took  the  gourd,  and  filled  it.  After  express- 
ing gratitude,  Koyuri  ran  off  delighted.  '  Here,  father, 
here  ! '  said  he  as  he  reached  his  hut  :  '  I  have  got  you 
the  sake,  the  best  I  have  ever  seen,  and  I  am  sure  it  tastes 
as  good  as  it  looks  ;  try  it  and  tell  me !  ' 

The   old    man   took   the   wine   and    drank   greedily, 



White  Sake 

expressing  great  satisfaction,  and  said  that  it  was  indeed 
the  best  he  had  ever  tasted.  Next  day  he  wanted  more. 
The  boy  found  his  two  red  friends,  and  again  they  filled 
the  gourd.  In  short,  Koyuri  had  his  gourd  filled  for  five 
days  in  succession,  and  his  father  had  regained  spirits  and 
was  almost  well  in  consequence. 

Now,  there  lived  in  the  next  hut  to  Yurine  an  un- 
pleasant neighbour  who  also  was  fond  of  sake,  but  too 
poor  to  procure  it.  His  name  was  Mamikiko.  On 
hearing  that  Yurine  had  been  drinking  sak£  for  the  last 
five  days  he  became  furiously  jealous,  and,  calling  Koyuri, 
asked  where  and  how  he  had  procured  it.  The  boy 
explained  that  he  had  got  it  from  the  strange  people  with 
red  hair  who  had  been  living  near  the  big  pine  tree  for 
some  days  past. 

4  Give  me  your  gourd  to  taste/  cried  Mamikiko, 
snatching  it  roughly.  *  Do  you  think  that  your  father 
is  the  only  man  who  is  good  enough  for  sake  ? '  Putting 
the  gourd  to  his  lips,  he  began  to  drink  ;  but  he  threw  it 
down  in  disgust  a  second  later,  and  spat  out  what  was  in 
his  mouth.  '  What  filth  is  this  ?  '  he  cried.  '  To  your 
father  you  give  the  most  excellent  sak£,  while  to  me  you 
give  foul  water  !  What  is  the  meaning  of  it  ? '  He 
gave  Koyuri  a  sound  beating,  and  then  told  him  to  lead 
the  way  to  the  red  people  on  the  beach,  saying,  *  I  will 
beat  you  again  if  I  don't  get  some  good  sake  ;  so  you  had 
better  see  to  it ! ' 

Koyuri  led  the  way,  weeping  the  while  at  the  loss  of 
his  sake,  which  Mamikiko  had  thrown  away,  and  fearing 
the  anger  of  his  red  friends.  In  the  usual  place  they 
found  the  strangers,  who  had  both  been  drinking  and 

241  31 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

were  still  doing  so.  Mamikiko  was  surprised  at  their 
appearance  :  he  had  seen  nothing  quite  like  them  before. 
Their  bodies  were  of  the  pink  of  cherry  blossom  shining 
in  the  sun,  while  their  long  red  hair  almost  frightened 
him  ;  both  were  naked  except  for  a  green  girdle  made  of 
some  curious  seaweed. 

4  Well,  boy  Koyuri,  what  are  you  crying  about,  and 
why  back  so  soon  ?  Has  your  father  drunk  the  sake 
already  ?  If  so  he  must  be  almost  as  fond  of  it  as  we.' 

*  No,  no  :   my  father  has  not  drunk  it  ;  but  Mamikiko, 
here,  took  it  from  me  and  drank  some,  spitting  it  out  and 
saying  it  was  not  sake  ;  the  rest  he  threw  away,  and  then 
made  me  bring  him  here.     May  I  have  some  more  for 
my  father  ?  '     The  red  man  refilled  the  gourd  and  told 
him  not  to  mind,  and  seemed  amused  at  Koyuri's  account 
of  Mamikiko  spitting  it  out. 

*  I  am  as  fond  of  sake  as  any  one,'  cried  Mamikiko  : 
4  will  you  give  me  some  ? ' 

'  Oh,.yes ;  help  yourself,'  said  the  red  man  ;  *  Help  your- 
self.' Mamikiko  filled  the  largest  of  the  cups,  and,  putting 
it  to  his  nose,  smelt  the  fragrance,  which  was  delicious  ; 
but  as  soon  as  he  put  it  to  his  lips  his  face  changed, 
and  he  had  to  spit  again,  for  the  taste  was  nauseating. 

4  What  is  the  meaning  of  this  ? '  he  cried  angrily  ;  and 
the  red  man  answered  still  more  angrily  : 

'  You  do  not  seem  to  be  aware  of  who  I  am.  Well,  I  will 
tell  you  that  I  am  a  shojo  of  high  degree,  and  I  live  deep 
in  the  bottom  of  the  ocean  near  the  Sea  Dragon's  Palace. 
Recently  we  heard  that  a  sacred  mountain  had  arisen  on 
the  edge  of  the  sea,  and,  as  it  is  a  lucky  omen,  and  a  sign 
that  the  Empire  of  Japan  will  exist  in  perpetuity,  I  have 


White  Sake 

come  here  to  see  it.  While  enjoying  the  magnificent 
scene  from  Suruga  coast  I  met  this  good  boy  Koyuri,  who 
asked  for  sake  for  his  poor  sick  old  father,  and  I  gave 
him  some.  Now,  this  sake  is  not  ordinary  sake,  but 
sacred,  and  those  who  drink  it  live  for  ever  and  retain 
their  youth  ;  moreover,  it  cures  all  diseases  even  in  the 
aged.  But  you  must  know  that  any  medicine  is  sometimes 
a  poison,  and  thus  it  is  that  this  sweet  sacred  white  sake  is 
good  only  in  taste  to  the  righteous,  and  bad-tasting  and 
poisonous  to  the  wicked.  Thus  I  know  that,  as  it  tastes 
evil  to  you,  you  are  an  evil  and  wicked  man,  selfish  and 
greedy.'  And  both  the  shojos  laughed  at  Mamikiko, 
who,  on  hearing  that  the  few  drops  which  he  must  have 
swallowed  would  act  as  poison  and  soon  kill  him,  began  to 
cry  with  fear  and  to  regret  his  conduct.  He  begged  and 
implored  forgiveness  and  that  his  life  might  be  spared, 
and  vowed  that  he  would  reform  if  only  given  a  chance. 
The  shojo,  drawing  some  powder  from  a  case,  gave  it  to 
Mamikiko,  and  told  him  to  swallow  it  in  some  sake  ; 
t  for/  said  he,  '  it  is  better  to  repent  and  reform  even  in 
your  old  age  than  not  at  all.' 

Mamikiko  drank  it  down  this  time,  finding  the  wine 
sweet  and  delicious  ;  it  strengthened  him  and  made  him 
feel  well,  and  he  reformed  and  became  a  good  man.  He 
made  friends  again  with  Yurine  and  treated  Koyuri  well. 

Some  years  later  Mamikiko  and  Yurine  built  a  hut 
at  the  southern  base  of  Fuji  San,  where  they  brewed 
white  sake  from  a  recipe  given  them  by  the  shojo,  and 
they  gave  it  to  all  who  suffered  from  sake  poisoning. 
Both  Mamikiko  and  Yurine  lived  for  300  years. 

In  the  Middle  Ages  a  man  who  had  heard  this  story 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

brewed  white  sake  at  the  foot  of  Mount  Fuji  ;  he  made 
it  with  rice  yeast,  and  people  became  very  fond  of  it. 
Even  to-day  white  sake  is  brewed  somewhere  at  the  foot 
of  the  mountain,  and  is  well  known  as  a  special  liquor 
belonging  to  Fuji.  I  myself  drank  it  in  1907  without 
fear  of  living  beyond  my  fifty-fifth  year. 



NEARLY  three  hundred  years  ago  (or,  according  to  my 
story-teller,  in  the  second  year  of  Kwanei,  which  would  be 
1626,  the  period  of  Kwanei  having  begun  in  1624  and 
ended  in  1644)  there  lived  at  Maidzuru,  in  the  province 
of  Tango,  a  youth  named  Kichijiro. 

Kichijiro  had  been  born  at  the  village  of  Tai,  where 
his  father  had  been  a  native  ;  but  on  the  death  of  the 
father  he  had  come  with  his  elder  brother,  Kichisuke,  to 
Maidzuru.  The  brother  was  his  only  living  relation 
except  an  uncle,  and  had  taken  care  of  him  for  four  years, 
educating  him  from  the  age  of  eleven  until  fifteen  ;  and 
Kichijiro  was  very  grateful,  and  determined  that  now  he 
had  reached  the  age  of  fifteen  he  must  no  longer  be  a 
drag  on  his  brother,  but  must  begin  to  make  a  way  in 
the  world  for  himself. 

After  looking  about  for  some  weeks,  Kichijiro  found 
employment  with  Shiwoya  Hachiyemon,  a  merchant  in 
Maidzuru.  He  worked  very  hard,  and  soon  gained  his 
master's  friendship  ;  indeed,  Hachiyemon  thought  very 
highly  of  his  apprentice  ;  he  favoured  him  in  many  ways 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore   of  Japan 

over  older  clerks,  and  finally  entrusted  him  with  the  key 
of  his  safes,  which  contained  documents  and  much  money. 

Now,  Hachiyemon  had  a  daughter  of  Kichijiro's  age, 
of  great  beauty  and  promise,  and  she  fell  desperately  in 
love  with  Kichijiro,  who  himself  was  at  first  unaware  of 
this.  The  girl's  name  was  Ima,  O  Ima  San,  and  she  was 
one  of  those  delightful  ruddy,  happy-faced  girls  whom 
only  Japan  can  produce — a  mixture  of  yellow  and  red, 
with  hair  and  eyebrows  as  black  as  a  raven.  Ima  paid 
Kichijiro  compliments  now  and  then  ;  but  he  was  a  boy 
who  thought  little  of  love.  He  intended  to  get  on  in 
the  world,  and  marriage  was  a  thing  which  had  not  yet 
entered  into  his  mind. 

After  Kichijiro  had  been  some  six  months  in  the 
employment  of  Hachiyemon  he  stood  higher  than  ever  in 
the  master's  estimation  ;  but  the  other  clerks  did  not  like 
him.  They  were  jealous.  One  was  specially  so.  This 
was  Kanshichi,  who  hated  him  not  only  because  he  was 
favoured  by  the  merchant  but  also  because  he  himself 
loved  O  Ima,  who  had  given  him  many  a  rebuff  when  he 
had  attempted  to  make  love  to  her.  So  great  did  this 
secret  hate  become,  at  last  Kanshichi  vowed  that  he 
would  be  revenged  upon  Kichijiro,  and  if  necessary  upon 
his  master  Hachiyemon  and  his  daughter  O  Ima  as  well ; 
for  he  was  a  wicked  and  scheming  man. 

One  day  an  opportunity  occurred. 

Kichijiro  had  so  far  secured  confidence  that  the  master 
had  sent  him  off  to  Kasumi,  in  Tajima  Province,  there  to 
negotiate  the  purchase  of  a  junk.  While  he  was  away 
Kanshichi  broke  into  the  room  where  the  safe  was  kept, 
and  took  therefrom  two  bags  containing  money  in  gold  up 



The   Blind  Beauty 

to  the  value  of  200  ryo.  He  effaced  all  signs  of  his 
action,  and  went  quietly  back  to  his  work.  Two  or  three 
days  later  Kichijiro  returned,  having  successfully  accom- 
plished his  mission,  and,  after  reporting  this  to  the 
master,  set  to  his  routine  work  again.  On  examining  the 
safe,  he  found  that  the  200  ryo  of  gold  were  missing,  and, 
he  having  reported  this,  the  office  and  the  household  were 
thrown  into  a  state  of  excitement. 

After  some  hours  of  hunting  for  the  money  it  was 
found  in  a  koro  (incense -burner)  which  belonged  to 
Kichijiro,  and  no  one  was  more  surprised  than  he.  It 
was  Kanshichi  who  had  found  it,  naturally,  after  having 
put  it  there  himself;  he  did  not  accuse  Kichijiro  of 
having  stolen  the  money — his  plans  were  more  deeply 
laid.  The  money  having  been  found  there,  he  knew  that 
Kichijiro  himself  would  have  to  say  something.  Of  course 
Kichijiro  said  he  was  absolutely  innocent,  and  that  when 
he  had  left  for  Kasumi  the  money  was  safe — he  had  seen 
it  just  before  leaving. 

Hachiyemon  was  sorely  distressed.  He  believed  in 
the  innocence  of  Kichijiro  ;  but  how  was  he  to  prove  it? 
Seeing  that  his  master  did  not  believe  Kichijiro  guilty, 
Kanshichi  decided  that  he  must  do  something  which 
would  render  it  more  or  less  impossible  for  Hachiyemon 
to  do  otherwise  than  to  send  his  hated  rival  Kichijiro 
away.  He  went  to  the  master  and  said  : 

c  Sir,  I,  as  your  head  clerk,  must  tell  you  that,  though 
perhaps  Kichijiro  is  innocent,  things  seem  to  prove  that 
he  is  not,  for  how  could  the  money  have  got  into  his 
koro  ?  If  he  is  not  punished,  the  theft  will  reflect  on  all 
of  us  clerks,  your  faithful  servants,  and  I  myself  should 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

have  to  leave  your  service,  for  all  the  others  would  do  so, 
and  you  would  be  unable  to  carry  on  your  business. 
Therefore  I  venture  to  tell  you,  sir,  that  it  would  be 
advisable  in  your  own  interests  to  send  poor  Kichijiro,  for 
whose  misfortune  I  deeply  grieve,  away.' 

Hachiyemon  saw  the  force  of  this  argument,  and 
agreed.  He  sent  for  Kichijiro,  to  whom  he  said  : 

4  Kichijiro,  deeply  as  I  regret  it,  I  am  obliged  to  send 
you  away.  I  do  not  believe  in  your  guilt,  but  I  know 
that  if  I  do  not  send  you  away  all  my  clerks  will  leave 
me,  and  I  shall  be  ruined.  To  show  you  that  I  believe  in 
your  innocence,  I  will  tell  you  that  my  daughter  Ima  loves 
you,  and  that  if  you  are  willing,  and  after  you  can  prove 
your  innocence,  nothing  would  give  me  greater  pleasure 
than  to  have  you  back  as  my  son-in-law.  Go  now.  Try 
and  think  how  you  can  prove  your  innocence.  My  best 
wishes  go  with  you/ 

Kichijiro  was  very  sad.  Now  that  he  had  to  go,  he 
found  that  he  should  more  than  miss  the  companionship 
of  the  sweet  O  Ima.  With  tears  in  his  eyes,  he  vowed  to 
the  father  that  he  would  come  back,  prove  his  innocence, 
and  marry  O  Ima  ;  and  with  O  Ima  herself  he  had  his 
first  love  scene.  They  vowed  that  neither  should  rest 
until  the  scheming  thief  had  been  discovered,  and  they 
were  both  reunited  in  such  a  way  that  nothing  could  part 

Kichijiro  went  back  to  his  brother  Kichisuke  at  Tai 
village,  to  consult  as  to  what  it  would  be  best  for  him  to 
do  to  re-establish  his  reputation.  After  a  few  weeks,  he 
was  employed  through  his  brother's  interest  and  that  of 
his  only  surviving  uncle  in  Kyoto.  There  he  worked 


The  Blind  Beauty 

hard  and  faithfully  for  four  long  years,  bringing  much 
credit  to  his  firm,  and  earning  much  admiration  from 
his  uncle,  who  made  him  heir  to  considerable  landed 
property,  and  gave  him  a  share  in  his  own  business. 
Kichijiro  found  himself  at  the  age  of  twenty  quite  a  rich 

In  the  meantime  calamity  had  come  on  pretty  O  Ima. 
After  Kichijiro  had  left  Maidzuru,  Kanshichi  began  to 
pester  her  with  attentions.  She  would  have  none  of  him  ; 
she  would  not  even  speak  to  him  ;  and  so  exasperated  did 
he  become  at  last  that  he  used  to  waylay  her.  On  one 
occasion  he  resorted  to  violence  and  tried  to  carry  her 
away  by  force.  Of  this  she  complained  to  her  father, 
who  promptly  dismissed  him  from  his  service. 

This  made  villain  Kanshichi  angrier  than  ever.  As 
the  Japanese  proverb  says,  '  Kawaisa  amatte  nikusa  ga 
hyakubai,' — which  means,  c  Excessive  love  is  hatred/  So 
it  was  with  Kanshichi  :  his  love  turned  to  hatred.  He 
thought  of  how  he  could  be  avenged  on  Hachiyemon  and 
O  Ima.  The  most  simple  means,  he  thought,  would  be 
to  burn  down  their  house,  the  business  offices,  and  the 
stores  of  merchandise  :  that  must  bring  ruin.  So  one 
night  Kanshichi  set  about  doing  these  things  and  accom- 
plished them  most  successfully — with  the  exception  that 
he  himself  was  caught  in  the  act  and  sentenced  to  a  heavy 
punishment.  That  was  the  only  satisfaction  which  was 
got  by  Hachiyemon,  who  was  all  but  ruined  ;  he  sent 
away  all  his  clerks  and  retired  from  business,  for  he  was 
too  old  to  begin  again. 

With  just  enough  to  keep  life  and  body  together, 
Hachiyemon  and  his  pretty  daughter  lived  in  a  little 

249  32 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

cheap  cottage  on  the  banks  of  the  river,  where  it  was 
Hachiyemon's  only  pleasure  to  fish  for  carp  and  jakko. 
For  three  years  he  did  this,  and  then  fell  ill  and  died. 
Poor  O  Ima  was  left  to  herself,  as  lovely  as  ever,  but 
mournful.  The  few  friends  she  had  tried  to  prevail  on 
her  to  marry  somebody — anybody,  they  said,  sooner  than 
live  alone, — but  to  this  advice  the  girl  would  not  listen. 
'  It  is  better  to  live  miserably  alone,'  she  said,  *  than  to 
marry  one  for  whom  you  do  not  care  ;  I  can  love  none 
but  Kichijiro,  though  I  shall  not  see  him  again/ 

O  Ima  spoke  the  truth  on  that  occasion,  without 
knowing  it,  for,  true  as  it  is  that  it  never  rains  but  it 
pours,  O  Ima  was  to  have  more  trouble.  An  eye  sickness 
came  to  her,  and  in  less  than  two  months  after  her  father's 
death  the  poor  girl  was  blind,  with  no  one  to  attend  to  her 
wants  but  an  old  nurse  who  had  stuck  to  her  through  all 
her  troubles.  Ima  had  barely  sufficient  money  to  pay  for 

It  was  just  at  this  time  that  Kichijiro's  success  was 
assured  :  his  uncle  had  given  him  a  half  interest  in  the 
business  and  made  a  will  in  which  he  left  him  his  whole 
property.  Kichijiro  decided  to  go  and  report  himself 
to  his  old  master  at  Maidzuru  and  to  claim  the  hand  of 
O  Ima  his  daughter.  Having  learned  the  sad  story  of 
downfall  and  ruin,  and  also  of  Ima's  blindness,  Kichijiro 
went  to  the  girl's  cottage.  Poor  O  Ima  came  out  and 
flung  herself  into  his  arms,  weeping  bitterly,  and  crying  : 
'  Kichijiro,  my  beloved  !  this  is  indeed  almost  the  hardest 
blow  of  all.  The  loss  of  my  sight  was  as  nothing  before ; 
but  now  that  you  have  come  back,  I  cannot  see  you,  and 
how  I  long  to  do  so  you  can  but  little  imagine  !  It  is 


The   Blind  Beauty 

indeed  the  saddest  blow  of  all.  You  cannot  now  marry 

Kichijiro  petted  her,  and  said,  c  Dearest  Ima,  you  must 
not  be  too  hasty  in  your  thoughts.  I  have  never  ceased 
thinking  of  you  ;  indeed,  I  have  grown  to  love  you 
desperately.  I  have  property  now  in  Kyoto  ;  but  should 
you  prefer  to  do  so,  we  will  live  here  in  this  cottage.  I 
am  ready  to  do  anything  you  wish.  It  is  my  desire  to 
re-establish  your  father's  old  business,  for  the  good  of 
your  family  ;  but  first  and  before  even  this  we  will  be 
married  and  never  part  again.  We  will  do  that  to- 
morrow. Then  we  will  go  together  to  Kyoto  and  see  my 
uncle,  and  ask  for  his  advice.  He  is  always  good  and 
kind,  and  you  will  like  him — he  is  sure  to  like  you/ 

Next  day  they  started  on  their  journey  to  Kyoto,  and 
Kichijiro  saw  his  brother  and  his  uncle,  neither  of  whom 
had  any  objection  to  Kichijiro's  bride  on  account  of  her 
blindness.  Indeed,  the  uncle  was  so  much  pleased  at  his 
nephew's  fidelity  that  he  gave  him  half  of  his  capital  there 
and  then.  Kichijiro  built  a  new  house  and  offices  in 
Maidzuru,  just  where  his  first  master  Hachiyemon's  place 
had  been.  He  re-established  the  business  completely, 
calling  his  firm  the  Second  Shiwoya  Hachiyemon,  as  is 
often  done  in  Japan  (which  adds  much  to  the  confusion 
of  Europeans  who  study  Japanese  Art,  for  pupils  often 
take  the  names  of  their  clever  masters,  calling  themselves 
the  Second,  or  even  the  Third  or  the  Fourth). 

In  the  garden  of  their  Maidzuru  house  was  an  artificial 
mountain,  and  on  this  Kichijiro  had  erected  a  tombstone 
or  memorial  dedicated  to  Hachiyemon,  his  father-in-law. 
At  the  foot  of  the  mountain  he  erected  a  memorial  to 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

Kanshichi.  Thus  he  rewarded  the  evil  wickedness  of 
Kanshichi  by  kindness,  but  showed  at  the  same  time  that 
evil-doers  cannot  expect  high  places.  It  is  to  be  hoped 
that  the  spirits  of  the  two  dead  men  became  reconciled. 

They  say  in  Maidzuru  that  the  memorial  tombs  still 



IN  the  first  year  of  Bunkiu,  1861-1864,  there  lived  a 
man  called  Yehara  Keisuke  in  Kasumigaseki,  in  the 
district  of  Kojimachi.  He  was  a  hatomoto — that  is,  a 
feudatory  vassal  of  the  Shogun — and  a  man  to  whom 
some  respect  was  due  ;  but  apart  from  that,  Yehara  was 
much  liked  for  his  kindness  of  heart  and  general  fairness 
in  dealing  with  people.  In  lidamachi  lived  another 
hatomoto,  Hayashi  Hayato.  He  had  been  married  to 
Yehara's  sister  for  five  years.  They  were  exceedingly 
happy  ;  their  daughter,  four  years  old  now,  was  the 
delight  of  their  hearts.  Their  cottage  was  rather  dilapi- 
dated ;  but  it  was  Hayashi's  own,  with  the  pond  in 
front  of  it,  and  two  farms,  the  whole  property  com- 
prising some  two  hundred  acres,  of  which  nearly  half 
was  under  cultivation.  Thus  Hayashi  was  able  to  live 
without  working  much.  In  the  summer  he  fished  for 
carp  ;  in  the  winter  he  wrote  much,  and  was  considered 
a  bit  of  a  poet. 

At  the  time  of  this  story,  Hayashi,  having  planted  his 
rice  and  sweet  potatoes  (sato-imo),  had  but  little  to  do,  and 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

spent  most  of  his  time  with  his  wife,  fishing  in  his  ponds, 
one  of  which  contained  large  suppon  (terrapin  turtles)  as 
well  as  koi  (carp).  Suddenly  things  went  wrong. 

Yehara  was  surprised  one  morning  to  receive  a  visit 
from  his  sister  O  Kome. 

4 1  have  come,  dear  brother/  she  said,  4  to  beg  you  to 
help  me  to  obtain  a  divorce  or  separation  from  my 

4  Divorce  !  Why  should  you  want  a  divorce  ?  Have 
you  not  always  said  you  were  happy  with  your  husband, 
my  dear  friend  Hayashi  ?  For  what  sudden  reason  do 
you  ask  for  a  divorce  ?  Remember  you  have  been 
married  for  five  years  now,  and  that  is  sufficient  to  prove 
that  your  life  has  been  happy,  and  that  Hayashi  has  treated 
you  well.' 

At  first  O  Kome  would  not  give  any  reason  why  she 
wished  to  be  separated  from  her  husband  ;  but  at  last 
she  said  : 

4  Brother,  think  not  that  Hayashi  has  been  unkind. 
He  is  all  that  can  be  called  kind,  and  we  deeply  love  each 
other  ;  but,  as  you  know,  Hayashi's  family  have  owned 
the  land,  the  farms  on  one  of  which  latter  we  live,  for 
some  three  hundred  years.  Nothing  would  induce  him 
to  change  his  place  of  abode,  and  I  should  never  have 
wished  him  to  do  so  until  some  twelve  days  ago/ 

4  What  has  happened  within  these  twelve  wonderful 
days  ? '  asked  Yehara. 

4  Dear  brother,  I  can  stand  it  no  longer/  was  his  sister's 
answer.  4  Up  to  twelve  days  ago  all  went  well  ;  but  then 
a  terrible  thing  happened.  It  was  very  dark  and  warm, 
and  I  was  sitting  outside  our  house  looking  at  the  clouds 







The  Secret  of  lidamachi  Pond 

passing  over  the  moon,  and  talking  to  my  daughter. 
Suddenly  there  appeared,  as  if  walking  on  the  lilies  of  the 
pond,  a  white  figure.  Oh,  so  white,  so  wet,  and  so  miser- 
able to  look  at !  It  appeared  to  arise  from  the  pond  and 
float  in  the  air,  and  then  approached  me  slowly  until  it 
was  within  ten  feet.  As  it  came  my  child  cried  :  "  Why, 
mother,  there  comes  O  Sumi — do  you  know  O  Sumi  ?  " 
I  answered  her  that  I  did  not,  I  think  ;  but  in  truth  I  was 
so  frightened  I  hardly  know  what  I  said.  The  figure  was 
horrible  to  look  at.  It  was  that  of  a  girl  of  eighteen  or 
nineteen  years,  with  hair  dishevelled  and  hanging  loose, 
over  white  and  wet  shoulders.  "  Help  me  !  help  me  !  " 
cried  the  figure,  and  I  was  so  frightened  that  I  covered 
my  eyes  and  screamed  for  my  husband,  who  was  inside. 
He  came  out  and  found  me  in  a  dead  faint,  with  my  child 
by  my  side,  also  in  a  state  of  terror.  Hayashi  had  seen 
nothing.  He  carried  us  both  in,  shut  the  doors,  and 
told  me  I  must  have  been  dreaming.  "  Perhaps,"  he 
sarcastically  added,  "  you  saw  the  kappa  which  is  said  to 
dwell  in  the  pond,  but  which  none  of  my  family  have  seen 
for  over  one  hundred  years."  That  is  all  that  my  husband 
said  on  the  subject.  Next  night,  however,  when  in  bed, 
my  child  seized  me  suddenly,  crying  in  terror-stricken 
tones,  "  O  Sumi — here  is  O  Sumi — how  horrible  she  looks  ! 
Mother,  mother,  do  you  see  her?"  I  did  see  her.  She 
stood  dripping  wet  within  three  feet  of  my  bed,  the 
whiteness  and  the  wetness  and  the  dishevelled  hair  being 
what  gave  her  the  awful  look  which  she  bore.  "  Help  me  1 
Help  me  !  "  cried  the  figure,  and  then  disappeared.  After 
that  I  could  not  sleep  ;  nor  could  I  get  my  child  to  do  so. 
On  every  night  until  now  the  ghost  has  come — O  Sumi, 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

as  my  child  calls  her.  I  should  kill  myself  if  I  had  to 
remain  longer  in  that  house,  which  has  become  a  terror  to 
myself  and  my  child.  My  husband  does  not  see  the 
ghost,  and  only  laughs  at  me ;  and  that  is  why  I  see  no 
way  out  of  the  difficulty  but  a  separation.' 

Yehara  told  his  sister  that  on  the  following  day  he 
would  call  on  Hayashi,  and  sent  his  sister  back  to  her 
husband  that  night. 

Next  day,  when  Yehara  called,  Hayashi,  after  hearing 
what  the  visitor  had  to  say,  answered  : 

'  It  is  very  strange.  I  was  born  in  this  house  over 
twenty  years  ago  ;  but  I  have  never  seen  the  ghost  which 
my  wife  refers  to,  and  have  never  heard  about  it.  Not 
the  slightest  allusion  to  it  was  ever  made  by  my  father  or 
mother.  I  will  make  inquiries  of  all  my  neighbours  and 
servants,  and  ascertain  if  they  ever  heard  of  the  ghost,  or 
even  of  any  one  coming  to  a  sudden  and  untimely  end. 
There  must  be  something  :  it  is  impossible  that  my  little 
child  should  know  the  name  "  Sumi,"  she  never  having 
known  any  one  bearing  it.' 

Inquiries  were  made  ;  but  nothing  could  be  learned 
from  the  servants  or  from  the  neighbours.  Hayashi 
reasoned  that,  the  ghost  being  always  wet,  the  mystery 
might  be  solved  by  drying  up  the  pond — perhaps  to  find 
the  remains  of  some  murdered  person,  whose  bones  re- 
quired decent  burial  and  prayers  said  over  them. 

The  pond  was  old  and  deep,  covered  with  water  plants, 
and  had  never  been  emptied  within  his  memory.  It  was 
said  to  contain  a  kappa  (mythical  beast,  half-turtle,  half- 
man).  In  any  case,  there  were  many  terrapin  turtle,  the 
capture  of  which  would  well  repay  the  cost  of  the  empty- 


The  Secret  of  lidamachi  Pond 

ing.  The  bank  of  the  pond  was  cut,  and  next  day  there 
remained  only  a  pool  in  the  deepest  part ;  Hayashi  decided 
to  clear  even  this  and  dig  into  the  mud  below. 

At  this  moment  the  grandmother  of  Hayashi  arrived, 
an  old  woman  of  some  eighty  years,  and  said  : 

'  You  need  go  no  farther.  I  can  tell  you  all  about  the 
ghost.  O  Sumi  does  not  rest,  and  it  is  quite  true  that 
her  ghost  appears.  I  am  very  sorry  about  it,  now  in  my 
old  age  ;  for  it  is  my  fault — the  sin  is  mine.  Listen  and 
I  will  tell  you  all.' 

Every  one  stood  astonished  at  these  words,  feeling  that 
some  secret  was  about  to  be  revealed. 

The  old  woman  continued  : 

'  When  Hayashi  Hayato,  your  grandfather,  was  alive, 
we  had  a  beautiful  servant  girl,  seventeen  years  of  age, 
called  O  Sumi.  Your  grandfather  became  enamoured  of 
this  girl,  and  she  of  him.  I  was  about  thirty  at  that  time, 
and  was  jealous,  for  my  better  looks  had  passed  away. 
One  day  when  your  grandfather  was  out  I  took  Sumi  to 
the  pond  and  gave  her  a  severe  beating.  During  the 
struggle  she  fell  into  the  water  and  got  entangled  in  the 
weeds  ;  and  there  I  left  her,  fully  believing  the  water  to 
be  shallow  and  that  she  could  get  out.  She  did  not 
succeed,  and  was  drowned.  Your  grandfather  found  her 
dead  on  his  return.  In  those  days  the  police  were  not 
very  particular  with  their  inquiries.  The  girl  was  buried  ; 
but  nothing  was  said  to  me,  and  the  matter  soon  blew 
over.  Fourteen  days  ago  was  the  fiftieth  anniversary  of 
this  tragedy.  Perhaps  that  is  the  reason  of  Sumi's  ghost 
appearing  ;  for  appear  she  must,  or  your  child  could  not 
have  known  of  her  name.  It  must  be  as  your  child  says, 

257  33 

Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

and  that  the  first  time  she  appeared  Sumi  communicated 
her  name/ 

The  old  woman  was  shaking  with  fear,  and  advised 
them  all  to  say  prayers  at  O  Sumi's  tomb.  This  was 
done,  and  the  ghost  has  been  seen  no  more.  Hayashi 
said  : 

'  Though  I  am  a  samurai,  and  have  read  many  books, 
I  never  believed  in  ghosts  ;  but  now  I  do.' 



THERE  is  a  mountain  in  the  province  of  Idsumi  called 
Oki-yama  (or  Oji  Yam  a)  ;  it  is  connected  with  the 
Mumaru-Yama  mountains.  I  will  not  vouch  that  I  am 
accurate  in  spelling  either.  Suffice  it  to  say  that  the 
story  was  told  to  me  by  Fukuga  Sei,  and  translated  by 
Mr.  Ando,  the  Japanese  translator  of  our  Consulate  at 
Kobe.  Both  of  these  give  the  mountain's  name  as  Oki- 
yama,  and  say  that  on  the  top  of  it  from  time  im- 
memorial there  has  been  a  shrine  dedicated  to  Fudo- 
myo-o  (Achala,  in  Sanskrit,  which  means  '  immovable,' 
and  is  the  god  always  represented  as  surrounded  by  fire 
and  sitting  uncomplainingly  on  as  an  example  to  others  ; 
he  carries  a  sword  in  one  hand,  and  a  rope  in  the  other, 
as  a  warning  that  punishment  awaits  those  who  are  unable 
to  overcome  with  honour  the  painful  struggles  of  life). 

Well,  at  the  top  of  Oki-yama  (high  or  big  mountain) 
is   this   very   old    temple   to    Fudo,   and    many   are    the 

1  Fukuga  Sei  said  that  this  was  an  old  story  told  him  by  his  nurse,  who  was  a 
native  of  the  village  of  Oki-yama  ;  also,  that  a  solid  gold  Buddha,  eighteen  inches 
in  height,  had  been  stolen  from  the  temple  three  years  ago. 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

pilgrimages  which  are  made  there  annually.  The 
mountain  itself  is  covered  with  forest,  and  there  are 
some  remarkable  cryptomerias,  camphor  and  pine  trees. 

Many  years  ago,  in  the  days  of  which  I  speak,  there 
were  only  a  few  priests  living  up  at  this  temple.  Among 
them  was  a  middle-aged  man,  half-priest,  half-caretaker, 
called  Yenoki.  For  twenty  years  had  Yenoki  lived 
at  the  temple  ;  yet  during  that  time  he  had  never  cast 
eyes  on  the  figure  of  Fudo,  over  which  he  was  partly 
set  to  guard  ;  it  was  kept  shut  in  a  shrine  and  never 
seen  by  any  one  but  the  head  priest.  One  day  Yenoki's 
curiosity  got  the  better  of  him.  Early  in  the  morning 
the  door  of  the  shrine  was  not  quite  closed.  Yenoki 
looked  in,  but  saw  nothing.  On  turning  to  the  light 
again,  he  found  that  he  had  lost  the  use  of  the  eye  that 
had  looked  :  he  was  stone-blind  in  the  right  eye. 

Feeling  that  the  divine  punishment  served  him  well, 
and  that  the  gods  must  be  angry,  he  set  about  purifying 
himself,  and  fasted  for  one  hundred  days.  Yenoki  was 
mistaken  in  his  way  of  devotion  and  repentance,  and 
did  not  pacify  the  gods  ;  on  the  contrary,  they  turned 
him  into  a  tengu  (long-nosed  devil  who  dwells  in 
mountains,  and  is  the  great  teacher  of  jujitsu). 

But  Yenoki  continued  to  call  himself  a  priest — '  Ichigan 
Hoshi,'  meaning  the  one-eyed  priest — for  a  year,  and 
then  died  ;  and  it  is  said  that  his  spirit  passed  into  an 
enormous  cryptomeria  tree  on  the  east  side  of  the 
mountain.  After  that,  when  sailors  passed  the  Chinu 
Sea  (Osaka  Bay),  if  there  was  a  storm  they  used  to 
pray  to  the  one-eyed  priest  for  help,  and  if  a  light 
was  seen  on  the  top  of  Oki-yama  they  had  a  sure  sign 




The  Spirit  of  Yenoki 

that,  no  matter  how  rough  the  sea,  their  ship  would 
not  be  lost. 

It  may  be  said,  in  fact,  that  after  the  death  of  the 
one-eyed  priest  more  importance  was  attached  to  his 
spirit  and  to  the  tree  into  which  it  had  taken  refuge 
than  to  the  temple  itself.  The  tree  was  called  the 
Lodging  of  the  One-eyed  Priest,  and  no  one  dared 
approach  it  —  not  even  the  woodcutters  who  were 
familiar  with  the  mountains.  It  was  a  source  of  awe 
and  an  object  of  reverence. 

At  the  foot  of  Oki-yama  was  a  lonely  village,  separated 
from  others  by  fully  two  ri  (five  miles),  and  there  were 
only  one  hundred  and  thirty  houses  in  it. 

Every  year  the  villagers  used  to  celebrate  the  *  Bon ' 
by  engaging,  after  it  was  over,  in  the  dance  called  '  Bon 
Odori.'  Like  most  other  things  in  Japan,  the  '  Bon ' 
and  the  *  Bon  Odori '  were  in  extreme  contrast.  The 
'  Bon '  was  a  ceremony  arranged  for  the  spirits  of  the 
dead,  who  are  supposed  to  return  to  earth  for  three  days 
annually,  to  visit  their  family  shrines — something  like  our 
All  Saints'  Day,  and  in  any  case  quite  a  serious  religious 
performance.  The  '  Bon  Odori '  is  a  dance  which  varies 
considerably  in  different  provinces.  It  is  confined  mostly 
to  villages — for  one  cannot  count  the  pretty  geisha  dances 
in  Kyoto  which  are  practically  copies  of  it.  It  is  a  dance 
of  boys  and  girls,  one  may  say,  and  continues  nearly  all 
night  on  the  village  green.  For  the  three  or  four  nights 
that  it  lasts,  opportunities  for  flirtations  of  the  most  violent 
kind  are  plentiful.  There  are  no  chaperons  (so  to  speak), 
and  (to  put  it  vulgarly)  every  one  '  goes  on  the  bust '  ! 
Hitherto  -  virtuous  maidens  spend  the  night  out  as 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

impromptu  sweethearts  ;  and,  in  the  village  of  which  this 
story  is  told,  not  only  is  it  they  who  let  themselves  go, 
but  even  young  brides  also. 

So  it  came  to  pass  that  the  village  at  the  foot  of 
Oki-yama  mountain — away  so  far  from  other  villages — 
was  a  bad  one  morally.  There  was  no  restriction  to 
what  a  girl  might  do  or  what  she  might  not  do  during 
the  nights  of  the  c  Bon  Odori.'  Things  went  from  bad 
to  worse  until,  at  the  time  of  which  I  write,  anarchy 
reigned  during  the  festive  days.  At  last  it  came  to  pass 
that  after  a  particularly  festive  '  Bon,'  on  a  beautiful 
moonlight  night  in  August,  the  well-beloved  and  charming 
daughter  of  Kurahashi  Yozaemon,  O  Kimi,  aged  eighteen 
years,  who  had  promised  her  lover  Kurosuke  that  she 
would  meet  him  secretly  that  evening,  was  on  her  way 
to  do  so.  After  passing  the  last  house  in  her  mountain 
village  she  came  to  a  thick  copse,  and  standing  at  the 
edge  of  it  was  a  man  whom  O  Kimi  at  first  took  to  be 
her  lover.  On  approaching  she  found  that  it  was  not 
Kurosuke,  but  a  very  handsome  youth  of  twenty-three 
years.  He  did  not  speak  to  her  ;  in  fact,  he  kept  a 
little  away.  If  she  advanced,  he  receded.  So  handsome 
was  the  youth,  O  Kimi  felt  that  she  loved  him.  <  Oh 
how  my  heart  beats  for  him  !  '  said  she.  '  After  all,  why 
should  I  not  give  up  Kurosuke  ?  He  is  not  good- 
looking  like  this  man,  whom  I  love  already  before  I 
have  even  spoken  to  him.  I  hate  Kurosuke,  now  that 
I  see  this  man.' 

As  she  said  this  she  saw  the  figure  smiling  and  beckon- 
ing, and,  being  a  wicked  girl,  loose  in  her  morals,  she 
followed  him  and  was  seen  no  more.  Her  family  were 


The  Spirit  of  Yenoki 

much  exercised  in  their  minds.  A  week  passed,  and 
O  Kimi  San  did  not  return. 

A  few  days  later  Tamae,  the  sixteen-year-old  daughter 
of  Kinsaku,  who  was  secretly  in  love  with  the  son  of 
the  village  Headman,  was  awaiting  him  in  the  temple 
grounds,  standing  the  while  by  the  stone  figure  of 
Jizodo  (Sanskrit,  Kshitigarbha,  Patron  of  Women  and 
Children).  Suddenly  there  stood  near  Tamae  a  handsome 
youth  of  twenty-three  years,  as  in  the  case  of  O  Kimi  ; 
she  was  greatly  struck  by  the  youth's  beauty,  so  much 
so  that  when  he  took  her  by  the  hand  and  led  her  off 
she  made  no  effort  to  resist,  and  she  also  disappeared. 

And  thus  it  was  that  nine  girls  of  amorous  nature  dis- 
appeared from  this  small  village.  Everywhere  for  thirty 
miles  round  people  talked  and  wondered,  and  said  unkind 

In  Oki-yama  village  itself  the  elder  people  said  : 

4  Yes  :  it  must  be  that  our  children's  immodesty  since 
the  '  Bon  Odori '  has  angered  Yenoki  San  :  perhaps  it  is 
he  himself  who  appears  in  the  form  of  this  handsome  youth 
and  carries  off  our  daughters/ 

Nearly  all  agreed  in  a  few  days  that  they  owed  their 
losses  to  the  Spirit  of  the  Yenoki  Tree ;  and  as  soon  as 
this  notion  had  taken  root  the  whole  of  the  villagers 
locked  and  barred  themselves  in  their  houses  both  day 
and  night.  Their  farms  became  neglected  ;  wood  was 
not  being  cut  on  the  mountain  ;  business  was  at  a  stand- 
still. The  rumour  of  this  state  of  affairs  spread,  and  the 
Lord  of  Kishiwada,  becoming  uneasy,  summoned  Sonobe 
Hayama,  the  most  celebrated  swordsman  in  that  part  of 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

4  Sonobe,  you  are  the  bravest  man  I  know  of,  and  the 
best  fighter.  It  is  for  you  to  go  and  inspect  the  tree 
where  lodges  the  spirit  of  Yenoki.  You  must  use  your 
own  discretion.  I  cannot  advise  as  to  what  it  is  best  that 
you  should  do.  I  leave  it  to  you  to  dispose  of  the 
mystery  of  the  disappearances  of  the  nine  girls.' 

c  My  lord,'  said  Sonobe,  '  my  life  is  at  your  lordship's 
call.  I  shall  either  clear  the  mystery  or  die.' 

After  this  interview  with  his  master  Sonobe  went  home. 
He  put  himself  through  a  course  of  cleansing.  He  fasted 
and  bathed  for  a  week,  and  then  repaired  to  Oki-yama. 

This  was  in  the  month  of  October,  when  to  me  things 
always  look  their  best.  Sonobe  ascended  the  mountain, 
and  went  first  to  the  temple,  which  he  reached  at  three 
o'clock  in  the  afternoon,  after  a  hard  climb.  Here  he 
said  prayers  before  the  god  Fudo  for  fully  half  an  hour. 
Then  he  set  out  to  cross  the  short  valley  which  led  up  to 
the  Oki-yama  mountain,  and  to  the  tree  which  held  the 
spirit  of  the  one-eyed  priest,  Yenoki. 

It  was  a  long  and  steep  climb,  with  no  paths,  for  the 
mountain  was  avoided  as  much  as  possible  by  even  the 
most  adventurous  of  woodcutters,  none  of  whom  ever 
dreamed  of  going  up  as  far  as  the  Yenoki  tree.  Sonobe 
was  in  good  training  and  a  bold  warrior.  The  woods 
were  dense  ;  there  was  a  chilling  damp,  which  came  from 
the  spray  of  a  high  waterfall.  The  solitude  was  intense, 
and  once  or  twice  Sonobe  put  his  hand  on  the  hilt  of  his 
sword,  thinking  that  he  heard  some  one  following  in  the 
gloom  ;  but  there  was  no  one,  and  by  five  o'clock  Sonobe 
had  reached  the  tree  and  addressed  it  thus  : 

'  Oh,  honourable  and  aged  tree,  that  has  braved 


The  Spirit  of  Yenoki 

centuries  of  storm,  thou  hast  become  the  home  of  Yenoki's 
spirit.  In  truth  there  is  much  honour  in  having  so  stately 
a  lodging,  and  therefore  he  cannot  have  been  so  bad  a  man. 
I  have  come  from  the  Lord  of  Kishiwada  to  upbraid  him, 
however,  and  to  ask  what  means  it  that  Yenoki's  spirit 
should  appear  as  a  handsome  youth  for  the  purpose  of 
robbing  poor  people  of  their  daughters.  This  must  not 
continue  ;  else  you,  as  the  lodging  of  Yenoki's  spirit,  will 
be  cut  down,  so  that  it  may  escape  to  another  part  of  the 

At  that  moment  a  warm  wind  blew  on  the  face  of 
Sonobe,  and  dark  clouds  appeared  overhead,  rendering  the 
forest  dark  ;  rain  began  to  fall,  and  the  rumblings  of 
earthquake  were  heard. 

Suddenly  the  figure  of  an  old  priest  appeared  in  ghostly 
form,  wrinkled  and  thin,  transparent  and  clammy,  nerve- 
shattering  ;  but  Sonob£  had  no  fear. 

'  You  have  been  sent  by  the  Lord  of  Kishiwada,'  said 
the  ghost.  '  I  admire  your  courage  for  coming.  So 
cowardly  and  sinful  are  most  men,  they  fear  to  come  near 
where  my  spirit  has  taken  refuge.  I  can  assure  you  that 
I  do  no  evil  to  the  good.  So  bad  had  morals  become  in 
the  village,  it  was  time  to  give  a  lesson.  The  villagers' 
customs  defied  the  gods.  It  is  true  that  I,  hoping  to  im- 
prove these  people  and  make  them  godly,  assumed  the 
form  of  a  youth,  and  carried  away  nine  of  the  worst  of 
them.  They  are  quite  well.  They  deeply  regret  their 
sins,  and  will  reform  their  village.  Every  day  I  have  given 
them  lectures.  You  will  find  them  on  the  "  Mino  toge," 
or  second  summit  of  this  mountain,  tied  to  trees.  Go 
there  and  release  them,  and  afterwards  tell  the  Lord  of 

265  34 

Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

Kishiwada  what  the  spirit  of  Yenoki,  the  one-eyed  priest, 
has  done,  and  that  it  is  always  ready  to  help  him  to  im- 
prove his  people.  Farewell ! ' 

No  sooner  had  the  last  word  been  spoken  than  the 
spirit  vanished.  Sonobe,  who  felt  somewhat  dazed  by 
what  the  spirit  had  said,  started  off  nevertheless  to  the 
*  Mino  toge  '  ;  and  there,  sure  enough,  were  the  nine  girls, 
tied  each  to  a  tree,  as  the  spirit  had  said.  He  cut  their 
bonds,  gave  them  a  lecture,  took  them  back  to  the  village, 
and  reported  to  the  Lord  of  Kishiwada. 

Since  then  the  people  have  feared  more  than  ever  the 
spirit  of  the  one-eyed  priest.  They  have  become  com- 
pletely reformed,  an  example  to  the  surrounding  villages. 
The  nine  houses  or  families  whose  daughters  behaved  so 
badly  contribute  annually  the  rice  eaten  by  the  priests  of 
Fudo-myo-o  Temple.  It  is  spoken  of  as  'the  nine- 
families  rice  of  Oki.' 



FOR  some  time  I  have  been  hunting  for  a  tale  about  the 
lotus  lily.  My  friend  Fukuga  has  at  last  found  one 
which  is  said  to  date  back  some  two  hundred  years.  It 
applies  to  a  castle  that  was  then  situated  in  what  was 
known  as  Kinai,  now  incorporated  into  what  may  be 
known  as  the  Kyoto  district.  Probably  it  refers  to  one 
of  the  castles  in  that  neighbourhood,  though  I  myself  know 
of  only  one,  which  is  now  called  Nijo  Castle. 

Fukuga  (who  does  not  speak  English)  and  my 
interpreter  made  it  very  difficult  for  me  to  say  that  the 
story  does  not  really  belong  to  a  castle  in  the  province 
of  Idzumi,  for  after  starting  it  in  Kyoto  they  suddenly 
brought  me  to  Idzumi,  making  the  hero  of  it  the  Lord 
of  Koriyama.  In  any  case,  I  was  first  told  that  disease 
and  sickness  broke  out  in  Kinai  (Kyoto).  Thousands 
of  people  died  of  it.  It  spread  to  Idzumi,  where 
the  feudal  Lord  of  Koriyama  lived,  and  attacked  him 
also.  Doctors  were  called  from  all  parts  ;  but  it  was 
no  use.  The  disease  spread,  and,  to  the  dismay  of  all, 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

not  only  the  Lord  of  Koriyama  but  also  his  wife  and 
child  were  stricken. 

There  was  a  panic  terror  in  the  country — not  that  the 
people  feared  for  themselves,  but  because  they  were  in 
dread  that  they  might  lose  their  lord  and  his  wife  and 
child.  The  Lord  Koriyama  was  much  beloved.  People 
flocked  to  the  castle.  They  camped  round  its  high  walls, 
and  in  its  empty  moats,  which  were  dry,  there  having 
been  no  war  for  some  time. 

One  day,  during  the  illness  of  this  great  family,  Tada 
Samon,  the  highest  official  in  the  castle  (next  to  the  Lord 
Koriyama  himself),  was  sitting  in  his  room,  thinking 
what  was  best  to  be  done  on  the  various  questions  that 
were  awaiting  the  Daimio's  recovery.  While  he  was  thus 
engaged,  a  servant  announced  that  there  was  a  visitor  at 
the  outer  gate  who  requested  an  interview,  saying  that  he 
thought  he  could  cure  the  three  sufferers. 

Tada  Samon  would  see  the  caller,  whom  the  servant 
shortly  after  fetched. 

The  visitor  turned  out  to  be  a  yamabushi  (mountain 
recluse)  in  appearance,  and  on  entering  the  room  bowed 
low  to  Samon,  saying  : 

'  Sir,  it  is  an  evil  business — this  illness  of  our  lord  and 
master — and  it  has  been  brought  about  by  an  evil  spirit, 
who  has  entered  the  castle  because  you  have  put  up  no 
defence  against  impure  and  evil  spirits.  This  castle  is  the 
centre  of  administration  for  the  whole  of  the  surrounding 
country,  and  it  was  unwise  to  allow  it  to  remain  un- 
fortified against  impure  and  evil  spirits.  The  saints  of 
old l  have  always  told  us  to  plant  the  lotus  lily,  not  only 

1  Rakkan. 


(    UNIVERSITY   ) 


The  Spirit  of  the  Lotus  Lily 

in  the  one  inner  ditch  surrounding  a  castle,  but  also  in 
both  ditches  or  in  as  many  as  there  be,  and,  moreover, 
to  plant  them  all  around  the  ditches.  Surely,  sir,  you 
know  that  the  lotus,  being  the  most  emblematic  flower 
in  our  religion,  must  be  the  most  pure  and  sacred  ;  for 
this  reason  it  drives  away  uncleanness,  which  cannot 
cross  it.  Be  assured,  sir,  that  if  your  lord  had  not 
neglected  the  northern  ditches  of  his  castle,  but  had 
kept  them  filled  with  water,  clean,  and  had  planted  the 
sacred  lotus,  no  such  evil  spirit  would  have  come  as  the 
present  sent  by  Heaven  to  warn  him.  If  I  am  allowed 
to  do  so,  I  shall  enter  the  castle  to-day  and  pray  that  the 
evil  spirit  of  sickness  leave  ;  and  I  ask  that  I  may  be 
allowed  to  plant  lotuses  in  the  northern  moats.  Thus 
only  can  the  Lord  of  Koriyama  and  his  family  be  saved.' 

Samon  nodded  in  answer,  for  he  now  remembered  that 
the  northern  moats  had  neither  lotus  nor  water,  and  that 
this  was  partly  his  fault — a  matter  of  economy  in  connec- 
tion with  the  estates.  He  interviewed  his  master,  who 
was  more  sick  than  ever.  He  called  all  the  Court 
officials.  It  was  decided  that  the  yamabushi  should  have 
his  way.  He  was  told  to  carry  out  his  ideas  as  he 
thought  best.  There  was  plenty  of  money,  and  there 
were  hundreds  of  hands  ready  to  help  him — anything  to 
save  the  master. 

The  yamabushi  washed  his  body,  and  prayed  that  the 
evil  spirit  of  sickness  should  leave  the  castle.  Subsequently 
he  superintended  the  cleansing  and  repairing  of  the 
northern  moats,  directing  the  people  to  fill  them  with 
water  and  plant  lotuses.  Then  he  disappeared  mysteriously 
— vanished  almost  before  the  men's  eyes.  Wonderingly, 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

but  with  more  energy  than  ever,  the  men  worked  to  carry 
out  the  orders.  In  less  than  twenty-four  hours  the  moats 
had  been  cleaned,  repaired,  filled,  and  planted. 

As  was  to  be  expected,  the  Lord  Koriyama,  his  wife, 
and  son  became  rapidly  better.  In  a  week  all  were  able 
to  be  up,  and  in  a  fortnight  they  were  as  well  as  ever  they 
had  been. 

Thanksgivings  were  held,  and  there  were  great  rejoic- 
ings all  over  Idzumi.  Later,  people  flocked  to  see  the 
splendidly-kept  moats  of  lotuses,  and  the  villagers  went 
so  far  as  to  rename  among  themselves  the  castle,  calling  it 
the  Lotus  Castle. 

Some  years  passed  before  anything  strange  happened. 
The  Lord  Koriyama  had  died  from  natural  causes,  and 
had  been  succeeded  by  his  son,  who  had  neglected  the 
lotus  roots.  A  young  samurai  was  passing  along  one  of 
the  moats.  This  was  at  the  end  of  August,  when  the 
flowers  of  the  lotus  are  strong  and  high.  The  samurai 
suddenly  saw  two  beautiful  boys,  about  six  or  seven  years 
of  age,  playing  at  the  edge  of  the  moat. 

'  Boys/  said  he,  '  it  is  not  safe  to  play  so  near  the  edge 
of  this  moat.  Come  along  with  me.' 

He  was  about  to  take  them  by  the  hand  and  lead  them 
off  to  a  safer  place,  when  they  sprang  into  the  air  a  little 
way,  smiling  at  him  the  while,  and  fell  into  the  water, 
where  they  disappeared  with  a  great  splash  that  covered 
him  with  spray. 

So  astonished  was  the  samurai,  he  hardly  knew  what 
to  think,  for  they  did  not  reappear.  He  made  sure  they 
must  be  two  kappas  (mythical  animals),  and  with  this 
idea  in  his  mind  he  ran  to  the  castle  and  gave  information. 


The  Spirit  of  the  Lotus  Lily 

The  high  officials  held  a  meeting,  and  arranged  to  have 
the  moats  dragged  and  cleaned  ;  they  felt  that  this  should 
have  been  done  when  the  young  lord  had  succeeded  his 

The  moats  were  dragged  accordingly  from  end  to  end  ; 
but  no  kappa  was  found.  They  came  to  the  conclusion 
that  the  samurai  had  been  indulging  in  fancies,  and  he 
was  chaffed  in  consequence. 

Some  few  weeks  later  another  samurai,  Murata  Ippai, 
was  returning  in  the  evening  from  visiting  his  sweetheart, 
and  his  road  led  along  the  outer  moat.  The  lotus 
blossoms  were  luxuriant  ;  and  Ippai  sauntered  slowly 
on,  admiring  them  and  thinking  of  his  lady-love,  when 
suddenly  he  espied  a  dozen  or  more  of  the  beautiful 
little  boys  playing  near  the  water's  edge.  They  had 
no  clothing  on,  and  were  splashing  one  another  with 

'  Ah  ! '  reflected  the  samurai,  '  these,  surely,  are  the 
kappas,  of  which  we  were  told  before.  Having  taken  the 
form  of  human  beings,  they  think  to  deceive  me  !  A 
samurai  is  not  frightened  by  such  as  they,  and  they  will 
find  it  difficult  to  escape  the  keen  edge  of  my  sword.' 

Ippai  cast  off  his  clogs,  and,  drawing  his  sword,  pro- 
ceeded stealthily  to  approach  the  supposed  kappas.  He 
approached  until  he  was  within  some  twenty  yards  ;  then 
he  remained  hidden  behind  a  bush,  and  stood  for  a  minute 
to  observe. 

The  children  continued  their  play.  They  seemed  to 
be  perfectly  natural  children,  except  that  they  were  all 
extremely  beautiful,  and  from  them  was  wafted  a  peculiar 
scent,  almost  powerful,  but  sweet,  and  resembling  that  of 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

the  lotus  lily.  Ippai  was  puzzled,  and  was  almost  inclined 
to  sheathe  his  sword  on  seeing  how  innocent  and  un- 
suspecting the  children  looked  ;  but  he  thought  that  he 
would  not  be  acting  up  to  the  determination  of  a  samurai 
if  he  changed  his  mind.  Gripping  his  sword  with  renewed 
vigour,  therefore,  he  dashed  out  from  his  hiding-place  and 
slashed  right  and  left  among  the  supposed  kappas. 

Ippai  was  convinced  that  he  had  done  much  slaughter, 
for  he  had  felt  his  sword  strike  over  and  over  again,  and 
had  heard  the  dull  thuds  of  things  falling ;  but  when  he 
looked  about  to  see  what  he  had  killed  there  arose  a 
peculiar  vapour  of  all  colours  which  almost  blinded  him 
by  its  brilliance.  It  fell  in  a  watery  spray  all  round 

Ippai  determined  to  wait  until  the  morning,  for  he 
could  not,  as  a  samurai,  leave  such  an  adventure  unfinished ; 
nor,  indeed,  would  he  have  liked  to  recount  it  to  his  friends 
unless  he  had  seen  the  thing  clean  through. 

It  was  a  long  and  dreary  wait ;  but  Ippai  was  equal  to 
it  and  never  closed  his  eyes  during  the  night. 

When  morning  dawned  he  found  nothing  but  the 
stalks  of  lotus  lilies  sticking  up  out  of  the  water  in  his 

'  But  my  sword  struck  more  than  lotus  stalks/  thought 
he.  '  If  I  have  not  killed  the  kappas  which  I  saw  myself 
in  human  form,  they  must  have  been  the  spirits  of  the 
lotus.  What  terrible  sin  have  I  committed  ?  It  was  by 
the  spirits  of  the  lotus  that  our  Lord  of  Koriyama  and  his 
family  were  saved  from  death  !  Alas,  what  have  I  done — 
I,  a  samurai,  whose  every  drop  of  blood  belongs  to  his 
master  ?  I  have  drawn  my  sword  on  my  master's  most 


The  Spirit  of  the  Lotus  Lily 

faithful  friends !  I  must  appease  the  spirits  by  dis- 
embowelling myself.1 

Ippai  said  a  prayer,  and  then,  sitting  on  a  stone  by  the 
side  of  the  fallen  lotus  flowers,  did  harakiri. 

The  flowers  continued  to  bloom  ;  but  after  this  no 
more  lotus  spirits  were  seen. 

273  35 


IN  Noto  Province  there  is  a  small  fishing-village  called 
Nanao.  It  is  at  the  extreme  northern  end  of  the  main- 
land. There  is  nothing  opposite  until  one  reaches  either 
Korea  or  the  Siberian  coast — except  the  small  rocky 
islands  which  are  everywhere  in  Japan,  surrounding  as  it 
were  by  an  outer  fringe  the  land  proper  of  Japan  itself. 

Nanao  contains  not  more  than  five  hundred  souls. 
Many  years  ago  the  place  was  devastated  by  an  earthquake 
and  a  terrific  storm,  which  between  them  destroyed  nearly 
the  whole  village  and  killed  half  of  the  people. 

On  the  morning  after  this  terrible  visitation,  it  was 
seen  that  the  geographical  situation  had  changed.  Opposite 
Nanao,  some  two  miles  from  the  land,  had  arisen  a  rocky 
island  about  a  mile  in  circumference.  The  sea  was  muddy 
and  yellow.  The  people  surviving  were  so  overcome  and 
awed  that  none  ventured  into  a  boat  for  nearly  a  month 
afterwards  ;  indeed,  most  of  the  boats  had  been. destroyed. 
Being  Japanese,  they  took  things  philosophically.  Every 
one  helped  some  other,  and  within  a  month  the  village 
looked  much  as  it  had  looked  before  ;  smaller,  and  less 




(    UNIVERSITY   ) 


The  Temple  of  the  Awabi 

populated,  perhaps,  but  managing  itself  unassisted  by  the 
outside  world.  Indeed,  all  the  neighbouring  villages  had 
suffered  much  in  the  same  way,  and  after  the  manner  of 
ants  had  put  things  right  again. 

The  fishermen  of  Nanao  arranged  that  their  first  fish- 
ing expedition  should  be  taken  together,  two  days  before 
the  *  Bon/  They  would  first  go  and  inspect  the  new 
island,  and  then  continue  out  to  sea  for  a  few  miles,  to 
find  if  there  were  still  as  many  tai  fish  on  their  favourite 
ground  as  there  used  to  be. 

It  would  be  a  day  of  intense  interest,  and  the  villages 
of  some  fifty  miles  of  coast  had  all  decided  to  make  their 
ventures  simultaneously,  each  village  trying  its  own 
grounds,  of  course,  but  all  starting  at  the  same  time,  with 
a  view  of  eventually  reporting  to  each  other  the  condition 
of  things  with  regard  to  fish,  for  mutual  assistance  is  a 
strong  characteristic  in  the  Japanese  when  trouble  over- 
comes them. 

At  the  appointed  time  two  days  before  the  festival 
the  fishermen  started  from  Nanao.  There  were  thirteen 
boats.  They  visited  first  the  new  island,  which  proved  to 
be  simply  a  large  rock.  There  were  many  rock  fish,  such 
as  wrasse  and  sea-perch,  about  it ;  but  beyond  that  there 
was  nothing  remarkable.  It  had  not  had  time  to  gather 
many  shell -fish  on  its  surface,  and  there  was  but  little 
edible  seaweed  as  yet.  So  the  thirteen  boats  went  farther 
to  sea,  to  discover  what  had  occurred  to  their  old  and 
excellent  tai  grounds. 

These  were  found  to  produce  just  about  what  they 
used  to  produce  in  the  days  before  the  earthquake  ;  but 
the  fishermen  were  not  able  to  stay  long  enough  to 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

make  a  thorough  test.  They  had  meant  to  be  away  all 
night ;  but  at  dusk  the  sky  gave  every  appearance  of  a 
storm  :  so  they  pulled  up  their  anchors  and  made  for 

As  they  came  close  to  the  new  island  they  were 
surprised  to  see,  on  one  side  of  it,  the  water  for  the  space 
of  240  feet  square  lit  up  with  a  strange  light.  The  light 
seemed  to  come  from  the  bottom  of  the  sea,  and  in  spite 
of  the  darkness  the  water  was  transparent.  The  fishermen, 
very  much  astonished,  stopped  to  gaze  down  into  the  blue 
waters.  They  could  see  fish  swimming  about  in  thousands  ; 
but  the  depth  was  too  great  for  them  to  see  the  bottom, 
and  so  they  gave  rein  to  all  kinds  of  superstitious  ideas 
as  to  the  cause  of  the  light,  and  talked  from  one  boat  to 
the  other  about  it.  A  few  minutes  afterwards  they  had 
shipped  their  immense  paddling  oars  and  all  was  quiet. 
Then  they  heard  rumbling  noises  at  the  bottom  of  the 
sea,  and  this  filled  them  with  consternation — they  feared 
another  eruption.  The  oars  were  put  out  again,  and  to 
say  that  they  went  fast  would  in  no  way  convey  an  idea 
of  the  pace  that  the  men  made  their  boats  travel  over  the 
two  miles  between  the  mainland  and  the  island. 

Their  homes  were  reached  well  before  the  storm  came 
on  ;  but  the  storm  lasted  for  fully  two  days,  and  the 
fishermen  were  unable  to  leave  the  shore. 

As  the  sea  calmed  down  and  the  villagers  were  looking 
out,  on  the  third  day  cause  for  astonishment  came. 
Shooting  out  of  the  sea  near  the  island  rock  were  rays 
that  seemed  to  come  from  a  sun  in  the  bottom  of  the  sea. 
All  the  village  congregated  on  the  beach  to  see  this  extra- 
ordinary spectacle,  which  was  discussed  far  into  the  night. 


The  Temple  of  the  Awabi 

Not  even  the  old  priest  could  throw  any  light  on  the 
subject.  Consequently,  the  fishermen  became  more  and 
more  scared,  and  few  of  them  were  ready  to  venture  to 
sea  next  day  ;  though  it  was  the  time  for  the  magnificent 
sawara  (king  mackerel),  only  one  boat  left  the  shore,  and 
that  belonged  to  Master  Kansuke,  a  fisherman  of  some 
fifty  years  of  age,  who,  with  his  son  Matakichi,  a  youth 
of  eighteen  and  a  most  faithful  son,  was  always  to  the 
fore  when  anything  out  of  the  common  had  to  be 

Kansuke  had  been  the  acknowledged  bold  fisherman  of 
Nanao,  the  leader  in  all  things  since  most  could  remember, 
and  his  faithful  and  devoted  son  had  followed  him  from 
the  age  of  twelve  through  many  perils  ;  so  that  no  one 
was  astonished  to  see  their  boat  leave  alone. 

They  went  first  to  the  tai  grounds  and  fished  there 
during  the  night,  catching  some  thirty  odd  tai  between 
them,  the  average  weight  of  which  would  be  four  pounds. 
Towards  break  of  day  another  storm  showed  on  the 
horizon.  Kansuke  pulled  up  his  anchor  and  started  for 
home,  hoping  to  take  in  a  hobo  line  which  he  had 
dropped  overboard  near  the  rocky  island  on  his  way  out 
— a  line  holding  some  two  hundred  hooks.  They  had 
reached  the  island  and  hauled  in  nearly  the  whole  line  when 
the  rising  sea  caused  Kansuke  to  lose  his  balance  and  fall 

Usually  the  old  man  would  soon  have  found  it  an  easy 
matter  to  scramble  back  into  the  boat.  On  this  occasion, 
however,  his  head  did  not  appear  above  water  ;  and  so 
his  son  jumped  in  to  rescue  his  father.  He  dived  into 
water  which  almost  dazzled  him,  for  bright  rays  were 



Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

shooting  through  it.  He  could  see  nothing  of  his  father, 
but  felt  that  he  could  not  leave  him.  As  the  mysterious 
rays  rising  from  the  bottom  might  have  something  to  do 
with  the  accident,  he  made  up  his  mind  to  follow  them  : 
they  must,  he  thought,  be  reflections  from  the  eye  of  some 

It  was  a  deep  dive,  and  for  many  minutes  Matakichi 
was  under  water.  At  last  he  reached  the  bottom,  and 
here  he  found  an  enormous  colony  of  the  awabi  (ear-shells). 
The  space  covered  by  them  was  fully  200  square  feet,  and 
in  the  middle  of  all  was  one  of  gigantic  size,  the  like  of 
which  he  had  never  heard  of.  From  the  holes  at  the 
top  through  which  the  feelers  pass  shot  the  bright  rays 
which  illuminated  the  sea, — rays  which  are  said  by  the 
Japanese  divers  to  show  the  presence  of  a  pearl.  The 
pearl  in  this  shell,  thought  Matakichi,  must  be  one  of 
enormous  size — as  large  as  a  baby's  head.  From  all  the 
awabi  shells  on  the  patch  he  could  see  that  lights  were 
coming,  which  denoted  that  they  contained  pearls  ;  but 
wherever  he  looked  Matakichi  could  see  nothing  of  his 
father.  He  thought  his  father  must  have  been  drowned, 
and  if  so,  that  the  best  thing  for  him  to  do  would  be  to 
regain  the  surface  and  repair  to  the  village  to  report  his 
father's  death,  and  also  his  wonderful  discovery,  which 
would  be  of  such  value  to  the  people  of  Nanao.  Having 
after  much  difficulty  reached  the  surface,  he,  to  his  dismay, 
found  the  boat  broken  by  the  sea,  which  was  now  high. 
Matakichi  was  lucky,  however.  He  saw  a  bit  of  floating 
wreckage,  which  he  seized  ;  and  as  sea,  wind,  and  current 
helped  him,  strong  swimmer  as  he  was,  it  was  not  more 
than  half  an  hour  before  he  was  ashore,  relating  to  the 


The  Temple  of  the  Awabi 

villagers  the  adventures  of  the  day,  his  discoveries,  and 
the  loss  of  his  dear  father. 

The  fishermen  could  hardly  credit  the  news  that  what 
they  had  taken  to  be  supernatural  lights  were  caused  by 
ear-shells,  for  the  much-valued  ear-shell  was  extremely 
rare  about  their  district ;  but  Matakichi  was  a  youth  of 
such  trustworthiness  that  even  the  most  sceptical  believed 
him  in  the  end,  and  had  it  not  been  for  the  loss  of  Kansuke 
there  would  have  been  great  rejoicing  in  the  village  that 

Having  told  the  villagers  the  news,  Matakichi  repaired 
to  the  old  priest's  house  at  the  end  of  the  village,  and 
told  him  also. 

'  And  now  that  my  beloved  father  is  dead/  said  he,  c  I 
myself  beg  that  you  will  make  me  one  of  your  disciples,  so 
that  I  may  pray  daily  for  my  father's  spirit.' 

The  old  priest  followed  Matakichi's  wish  and  said, 
'  Not  only  shall  I  be  glad  to  have  so  brave  and  filial  a 
youth  as  yourself  as  a  disciple,  but  also  I  myself  will  pray 
with  you  for  your  father's  spirit,  and  on  the  twenty-first 
day  from  his  death  we  will  take  boats  and  pray  over  the 
spot  at  which  he  was  drowned/ 

Accordingly,  on  the  morning  of  the  twenty-first  day 
after  the  drowning  of  poor  Kansuke,  his  son  and  the  priest 
were  anchored  over  the  place  where  he  had  been  lost,  and 
prayers  for  the  spirit  of  the  dead  were  said. 

That  same  night  the  priest  awoke  at  midnight  ;  he  felt 
ill  at  ease,  and  thought  much  of  the  spiritual  affairs  of  his 

Suddenly  he  saw  an  old  man  standing  near  the  head  of 
his  couch,  who,  bowing  courteously,  said  : 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

< 1  am  the  spirit  of  the  great  ear-shell  lying  on  the 
bottom  of  the  sea  near  Rocky  Island.  My  age  is  over 
1000  years.  Some  days  ago  a  fisherman  fell  from  his 
boat  into  the  sea,  and  I  killed  and  ate  him.  This  morning 
I  heard  your  reverence  praying  over  the  place  where  I  lay, 
with  the  son  of  the  man  I  ate.  Your  sacred  prayers  have 
taught  me  shame,  and  I  sorrow  for  the  thing  I  have  done. 
By  way  of  atonement  I  have  ordered  my  followers  to 
scatter  themselves,  while  I  have  determined  to  kill  my- 
self, so  that  the  pearls  that  are  in  my  shell  may  be 
given  to  Matakichi,  the  son  of  the  man  I  ate.  All 
I  ask  is  that  you  should  pray  for  my  spirit's  welfare. 
Farewell ! ' 

Saying  which,  the  ghost  of  the  ear-shell  vanished. 
Early  next  morning,  when  Matakichi  opened  his  shutters 
to  dust  the  front  of  his  door,  he  found  thereat  what  he 
took  at  first  to  be  a  large  rock  covered  with  seaweed,  and 
even  with  pink  coral.  On  closer  examination  Matakichi 
found  it  to  be  the  immense  ear-shell  which  he  had  seen  at 
the  bottom  of  the  sea  off  Rocky  Island.  He  rushed  off 
to  the  temple  to  tell  the  priest,  who  told  Matakichi  of 
his  visitation  during  the  night. 

The  shell  and  the  body  contained  therein  were  carried 
to  the  temple  with  every  respect  and  much  ceremony. 
Prayers  were  said  over  it,  and,  though  the  shell  and  the 
immense  pearl  were  kept  in  the  temple,  the  body  was 
buried  in  a  tomb  next  to  Kansuke's,  with  a  monument 
erected  over  it,  and  another  over  Kansuke's  grave. 
Matakichi  changed  his  name  to  that  of  Nichige,  and 
lived  happily. 

There  have  been  no  ear-shells  seen  near  Nanao  since, 


The  Temple  of  the  Awabi 

but  on  the  rocky  island  is  erected  a  shrine  to  the  spirit  of 
the  ear-shell. 

NOTE. — A  3OOO-yen  pearl  which  I  know  of  was  sold  for  12 
cents  by  a  fisherman  from  the  west.  It  came  from  a  temple, 
belongs  now  to  Mikomoto,  and  is  this  size. 




IN  Funakami  mura,  Omi  Province,  lived  an  old  farmer 
called  Kanshiro.  The  like  of  him  for  honesty,  charity, 
and  piety  had  never  been  known — no,  not  even  among 
the  priesthood.  Annually  Kanshiro  made  pilgrimages  to 
various  parts  of  the  country  to  say  his  prayers  and  do  his 
duty  towards  the  various  deities,  never  thinking  of  his  old 
age  or  of  his  infirmities.  He  was  not  strong,  and  suffered 
almost  always  from  dysentery  during  the  hot  weather  ; 
consequently,  he  usually  made  his  pilgrimages  in  cooler 

In  the  eighth  year  of  Kwansei,  however,  Kanshiro  felt 
that  he  could  not  live  another  year,  and,  feeling  that  he 
should  not  like  to  miss  making  another  pilgrimage  to  the 
great  shrines  at  Ise,  he  resolved  to  take  all  risks  and  go  in 
August,  the  hottest  month. 

The  people  in  Funakami  village  subscribed  one  hundred 
yen  for  the  venerable  man,  so  that  he  might  have  the 
honour  and  credit  of  presenting  a  decent  sum  to  the  great 

On   a   certain  day,  therefore,  Kanshiro   started  alone, 




Human  Fireflies 

with  the  money  hung  in  a  bag  about  his  neck.  He  had 
walked  from  sunrise  to  sunset  for  two  days,  when  on  the 
third  in  great  heat  he  arrived  at  the  village  of  Myojo, 
feeling  nearly  dead  with  weakness,  for  he  had  another 
attack  of  his  old  complaint. 

Kanshiro  felt  that  he  could  not  continue  his  journey 
while  this  lasted,  especially  as  he  considered  himself  in  an 
unclean  condition,  unfit  to  carry  the  holy  money  which  had 
been  entrusted  to  him  by  his  friends  in  Funakami.  He 
went,  accordingly,  to  the  cheapest  inn  he  could  find,  and 
confided  both  his  story  and  the  hundred  yen  to  the  land- 
lord, saying  : 

'  Sir,  I  am  an  old  man,  sick  with  dysentery.  If  you 
will  take  care  of  me  for  a  day  or  two  I  shall  be  better. 
Keep  also  until  I  am  well  this  sacred  money,  for  it  would 
not  do  for  me  to  defile  it  by  carrying  it  with  me  while  I 
am  unwell/ 

Jimpachi,  the  innkeeper,  bowed,  and  gave  every  assur- 
ance that  Kanshiro's  wish  should  be  followed. 

'  Fear  nothing/  said  he  :  f  I  will  place  the  money  in  its 
bag  in  a  safe  place,  and  myself  attend  upon  you  until 
you  are  well,  for  such  good  men  as  you  are  rare.' 

For  five  days  the  poor  old  man  was  very  sick  indeed  ; 
but  with  his  indomitable  pluck  he  recovered,  and  on  the 
sixth  day  decided  to  start  again. 

It  was  a  fine  day.  Kanshiro  paid  his  bill,  thanked  the 
landlord  for  his  kindness,  and  was  handed  over  his  money- 
bag at  the  door.  He  did  not  look  into  the  bag,  because 
there  were  many  coolies  and  pilgrims  about.  He  did  not 
wish  these  strangers  to  see  that  he  carried  much  money. 
Instead  of  hanging  it  about  his  neck,  as  he  had  done 



Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

before,  he  put  the  bag  into  his  sack  of  clothing  and  food, 
and  started  off. 

Towards  midday  Kanshiro  stopped  to  rest  and  eat 
his  cold  rice  under  a  pine  tree.  On  examining  his  bag  he 
found  the  hundred  yen  gone,  and  stones  of  the  same 
weight  placed  in  it  instead.  The  poor  man  was  greatly 
disconcerted.  He  did  not  even  wait  to  eat  his  rice,  but 
started  back  to  the  inn,  which  he  reached  at  dusk.  He 
explained  as  best  he  could  the  facts  to  Jimpachi,  the 

At  first  this  worthy  listened  to  the  story  with  some 
sympathy  ;  but  when  Kanshiro  begged  him  to  return  the 
money  he  flew  into  a  rage. 

'  You  old  rascal ! '  said  he.  '  A  nice  story  you  are 
telling  to  try  and  blackmail  me  !  I'll  give  you  a  lesson 
that  you  will  not  forget/  And  with  that  he  struck  the 
old  man  a  severe  blow  on  the  chest,  and  then,  seizing  a 
stick,  beat  him  unmercifully  ;  the  coolies  joined  in  and 
thrashed  him  until  he  was  nearly  dead. 

Poor  old  fellow  !  What  could  he  do  ?  Alone  as  he 
was,  he  crawled  away  half-dead  ;  but  he  got  to  the  sacred 
Ise  shrines  three  days  later,  and  after  saying  his  prayers 
started  back  to  Funakami.  Here  he  arrived  seriously  ill. 
On  telling  his  story,  some  believed  him  ;  but  others  did 
not.  So  overcome  with  grief  was  he,  he  sold  his  small 
property  to  refund  the  money,  and  with  the  rest  he 
continued  his  pilgrimages  to  various  temples  and  shrines. 
At  last  all  his  money  was  gone ;  but  even  then  he 
continued  his  pilgrimages,  begging  food  as  he  went. 

Three  years  later  he  again  visited  Myojo  village  on  his 
way  to  Ise,  and  here  he  learned  that  his  enemy  had  since 


Human  Fireflies 

made  a  good  deal  of  money,  and  now  lived  in  quite  a  good 
house.  Kanshiro  went  and  found  him,  and  said  :  c  Three 
years  ago  you  stole  the  money  entrusted  to  me.  I  sold 
my  property  to  refund  the  people  what  they  had  given  me 
to  take  to  Ise.  I  have  been  a  beggar  and  a  wanderer  ever 
since.  Think  not  that  I  shall  not  be  avenged.  I  shall  be. 
You  are  young  ;  I  am  old.  Vengeance  will  overtake  you 

Jimpachi  still  protested  innocence  and  began  to  get 
angry,  saying  : 

4  You  disreputable  old  blackguard,  if  you  want  a  meal 
of  rice  say  so  ;  but  do  not  dare  to  threaten  me.' 

At  this  moment  the  watchman  on  his  rounds  took 
Kanshiro  for  a  real  beggar,  and,  seizing  him  by  the  arm, 
dragged  him  to  the  end  of  the  village,  and  ordered  him 
not  to  re-enter  it,  on  pain  of  arrest ;  and  there  the  poor 
old  man  died  of  anger  and  weakness. 

The  good  priest  of  the  neighbouring  temple  took  the 
body,  and  buried  it  with  respect,  saying  prayers. 

Jimpachi  in  the  meantime,  afflicted  with  a  guilty 
conscience,  became  sick,  until  after  a  few  days  he  was 
unable  to  leave  his  bed.  After  he  had  lost  all  power  of 
movement  a  curious  thing  occurred.  Thousands  and 
thousands  of  fireflies  came  out  of  Kanshiro's  tomb  and 
flew  to  the  bedroom  of  Jimpachi.  They  surrounded  his 
mosquito -cur  tain  and  tried  to  force  their  way  in.  The 
top  of  the  curtain  was  pressed  down  with  them  ;  the  air 
was  foul  with  them  ;  the  glimmer  dazzled  the  sick  man's 
eyes.  No  rest  was  possible. 

The  villagers  came  in  to  try  and  kill  them  ;  but  they 
could  make  no  impression,  for  the  string  of  flies  from 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

Kanshiro's  tomb  continued  as  fast  as  others  were  killed. 
The  fireflies  went  nowhere  else  than  to  Jimpachi's  room, 
and  there  they  only  surrounded  his  bed. 

One  or  two  villagers,-  seeing  this,  said  : 

'  It  must  be  true  that  Jimpachi  stole  the  money  from 
the  old  man,  and  that  this  is  his  spirit's  revenge.' 

Then  every  one  feared  to  kill  the  flies.  Thicker  and 
thicker  they  grew  until  they  did  at  last  make  a  hole  in 
the  mosquito-net,  and  then  they  settled  all  over  Jimpachi. 
They  got  in  his  mouth,  his  nose,  his  ears,  and  his  eyes. 
He  kicked  and  screamed  and  lived  thus  in  agony  for 
twenty  days,  and  after  his  death  the  flies  disappeared 



MANY  years  ago  there  lived  at  the  foot  of  the  Mountains 
of  Nambu,  in  Adachi  gun,  Saitama  Prefecture,  an  old 
man  named  Kikuo,  which  means  Chrysanthemum-Old- 

Kikuo  was  a  faithful  retainer  of  Tsugaru  ;  he  was 
then  called  Sawada  Hayato.  Kikuo  was  a  man  of  great 
bodily  strength  and  fine  appearance,  and  had  much  to 
do  with  the  efficiency  of  the  small  fighting  force  which 
protected  the  feudal  lord,  the  castle,  and  the  estates. 

Nevertheless,  an  evil  day  came.  The  feudal  lord's 
small  force  was  overthrown  ;  the  estates  and  castle  were 
lost.  The  lord  and  his  faithful  retainer,  with  the  few 
survivors,  escaped  to  the  mountains,  where  they  continued 
to  think  that  a  day  might  come  when  they  would  be  able 
to  have  their  revenge. 

During  the  enforced  idleness  Kikuo,  knowing  his 
lord's  love  of  flowers  (especially  of  the  chrysanthemum), 
made  his  mind  up  to  devote  all  his  spare  time  to  making 
chrysanthemum  beds.  This,  he  thought,  would  lessen 
the  pain  of  defeat  and  exile. 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

The  feudal  lord  was  greatly  pleased  ;  but  his  cares 
and  anxieties  were  not  abated.  He  sickened  and  died 
in  great  poverty,  much  to  the  sorrow  of  Kikuo  and  the 
rest  of  his  followers.  Kikuo  wept  night  and  day  over  the 
humble  and  lonely  grave  ;  but  he  busied  himself  again  to 
please  the  spirit  of  his  lord  by  planting  chrysanthemums 
round  the  tomb  and  tending  them  daily.  By  and  by 
the  border  of  flowers  was  thirty  yards  broad — to  the 
wonder  of  all  who  saw.  It  was  because  of  this  that 
Hayato  got  the  name  of  Chrysanthemum-Old-Man. 

The  chrysanthemum  is  in  China  a  holy  flower. 
Ancient  history  tells  of  a  man  called  Hoso  (great 
grandson  of  the  Emperor  Juikai)  who  lived  to  the  age 
of  800  years  without  showing  the  slightest  sign  of  decay. 
This  was  attributed  to  his  drinking  the  dew  of  the 
chrysanthemum.  Besides  his  devotion  to  flowers,  Kikuo 
delighted  in  children  ;  from  the  village  he  called  them  to 
his  poor  hut,  and  as  there  was  no  schoolmaster  he 
taught  them  to  write,  to  read,  and  jujitsu.  The  children 
loved  him,  and  the  good  villagers  revered  him  as  if  he 
were  a  kind  of  god. 

In  about  his  eighty-second  year  Kikuo  caught  cold, 
and  the  fever  which  came  with  it  gave  him  great  pain. 

During  the  daytime  his  pupils  attended  to  his  wants  ; 
but  at  night  the  old  man  was  alone  in  his  cottage. 

One  autumn  night  he  awoke  and  found  standing  about 
his  veranda  some  beautiful  children.  They  did  not 
look  quite  like  any  children  he  knew.  They  were  too 
beautiful  and  noble-looking  to  belong  to  the  poor  of  the 

c  Kikuo  Sama,'  cried  two  of  them,  '  do  not  fear  us, 







The  Chrysanthemum  Hermit 

though  we  are  not  real  children.  We  are  the  spirits  of 
the  chrysanthemum  which  you  love  so  much,  and  of 
which  you  have  taken  such  care.  We  have  come  to  tell 
you  how  sorry  we  are  to  see  you  so  ill,  although  we  have 
heard  that  in  China  there  once  lived  a  man  called  Hoso 
who  lived  for  800  years  by  drinking  the  dew  which  falls 
from  the  flowers.  We  have  tried  all  we  can  to  prolong 
your  life  ;  but  we  find  that  the  Heavens  do  not  allow 
that  you  should  live  to  a  much  greater  age  than  you  have 
already  reached.  In  thirty  more  days  you  will  die.  Make 
ready,  therefore,  to  depart.' 

Saying  this,  they  all  wept  bitterly. 

*  Good-bye,  then/  said  Kikuo.  '  I  have  no  further 
hopes  of  living.  Let  my  death  be  easy.  In  the  next 
world  I  may  be  able  to  serve  my  old  lord  and  master. 
The  only  thing  that  makes  me  sad  to  leave  this  world  is 
you  :  I  must  for  ever  regret  to  leave  my  chrysanthemums ! ' 
Saying  this,  he  smiled  at  them  in  affection. 

'  You  have  been  very  kind  to  us/  said  the  Kiku  spirits, 
*  and  we  love  you  for  it.  Man  rejoices  at  birth,  and  feels 
sad  at  death  ;  yet  now  you  shed  no  tears.  You  say  you 
do  not  mind  dying  except  for  leaving  us.  If  you  die  we 
shall  not  survive,  for  it  would  be  useless  misery.  Believe 
us  when  we  say  that  we  shall  die  with  you.' 

As  the  spirits  of  the  chrysanthemums  finished  speaking 
a  puff  of  wind  came  about  the  house,  and  they  dis- 
appeared. As  the  day  dawned  the  old  man  grew  worse, 
and,  strange  to  say,  all  the  chrysanthemums  began  to  fade 
— even  those  which  were  just  beginning  to  bloom  ; — the 
leaves  crumpled  up  and  dried. 

As  the  spirits  had  foretold,  at  the  end  of  the  thirtieth 

289  37 

Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

day  the  old  man  died.  The  Kiku  flowers  died  then. 
Not  one  was  left  in  the  whole  district.  The  villagers 
could  not  account  for  it.  They  buried  the  old  man  near 
his  lord,  and,  thinking  to  honour  and  please  him,  planted, 
time  after  time,  chrysanthemums  near  his  grave  ;  but 
all  faded  and  died  as  soon  as  they  were  planted. 

The  two  little  graves  were  at  last  given  up,  and  they 
remain  in  their  solitude,  with  wild  grasses  only  growing 
about  them. 



MANY  years  ago  at  Gamogun,  in  the  province  of  Omi, 
was  a  castle  called  Adzuchi-no-shiro.  It  was  a  magnifi- 
cent old  place,  surrounded  by  walls  and  a  moat  filled  with 
lotus  lilies.  The  feudal  lord  was  a  very  brave  and 
wealthy  man,  Yuki  Naizen-no-jo.  His  wife  had  been 
dead  for  some  years.  He  had  no  son  ;  but  he  had  a 
beautiful  daughter  aged  eighteen,  who  (for  some  reason 
which  is  not  quite  clear  to  me)  was  given  the  title  of 
Princess.  For  a  considerable  period  there  had  been  peace 
and  quiet  in  the  land  ;  the  feudal  lords  were  on  the  best 
of  terms,  and  every  one  was  happy.  Amid  these  cir- 
cumstances Lord  Naizen-no-jo  perceived  that  there  was 
a  good  opportunity  to  find  a  husband  for  his  daughter 
Princess  Aya  ;  and  after  a  time  the  second  son  of  the 
Lord  of  Ako,  of  Harima  Province,  was  selected,  to  the 
satisfaction  of  both  fathers,  the  affair  having  little  to  do 
with  the  principals.  Lord  Ako's  second  son  had  viewed 
his  bride  with  approval,  and  she  him.  One  may  say  that 
young  people  are  bound  to  approve  each  other  when 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

it  is  the  parents'  wish  that  they  be  united.  Many  suicides 
result  from  this. 

Princess  Aya  made  her  mind  up  to  try  and  love  her 
prospective  husband.  She  saw  nothing  of  him  ;  but  she 
thought  of  him,  and  talked  of  him. 

One  evening  when  Princess  Aya  was  walking  in  the 
magnificent  gardens  by  the  moonlight,  accompanied  by 
her  maids-in-waiting,  she  wandered  down  through  her 
favourite  peony  bed  to  the  pond  where  she  loved  to  gaze 
at  her  reflection  on  the  nights  of  the  full  moon,  to  listen 
to  frogs,  and  to  watch  the  fireflies. 

When  nearing  the  pond  her  foot  slipped,  and  she 
would  have  fallen  into  the  water  had  it  not  been  that  a 
young  man  appeared  as  if  by  magic  and  caught  her.  He 
disappeared  as  soon  as  he  had  put  her  on  her  feet  again. 
The  maids-of-honour  saw  her  slip  ;  they  saw  a  glimmer 
of  light,  and  that  was  all  ;  but  Princess  Aya  had  seen 
more.  She  had  seen  the  handsomest  young  man  she 
could  imagine.  *  Twenty-one  years  old/  she  said  to  O 
Sadayo  San,  her  favourite  maid,  '  he  must  have  been — a 
samurai  of  the  highest  order.  His  dress  was  covered  with 
my  favourite  peonies,  and  his  swords  were  richly  mounted. 
Oh  that  I  could  have  seen  him  a  minute  longer,  to  thank 
him  for  saving  me  from  the  water  !  Who  can  he  be  ? 
And  how  could  he  have  got  into  our  gardens,  through  all 
the  guards  ? ' 

So  spoke  the  Princess  to  her  maids,  directing  them  at 
the  same  time  that  they  were  to  say  a  word  to  no  one,  for 
fear  that  her  father  should  hear,  find  the  young  man,  and 
behead  him  for  trespass. 

After  this  evening  Princess  Aya  fell  sick.  She  could 


<AYA     HIME,'    OR    PRINCESS    AYA,    IS    SAVED    IN    HER    FALL 


The  Princess  Peony 

not  eat  or  sleep,  and  turned  pale.  The  day  for  her 
marriage  with  the  young  Lord  of  Ako  came  and  went 
without  the  event ;  she  was  far  too  sick  for  that.  The 
best  of  the  doctors  had  been  sent  from  Kyoto,  which  was 
then  the  capital  ;  but  none  of  them  had  been  able  to  do 
anything,  and  the  maid  grew  thinner  and  thinner.  As  a 
last  resource,  the  Lord  Naizen-no-jo,  her  father,  sent  for 
her  most  confidential  maid  and  friend,  O  Sadayo,  and 
demanded  if  she  could  give  any  reason  for  his  daughter's 
mysterious  sickness.  Had  she  a  secret  lover  ?  Had  she 
a  particular  dislike  for  her  betrothed? 

4  Sir/  said  O  Sadayo,  '  I  do  not  like  to  tell  secrets  ;  but 
here  it  seems  my  duty  to  your  lordship's  daughter  as  well 
as  to  your  lordship.  Some  three  weeks  ago,  when  the 
moon  was  at  its  full,  we  were  walking  in  the  peony  beds 
down  near  the  pond  where  the  Princess  loves  to  be.  She 
stumbled  and  nearly  fell  into  the  water,  when  a  strange 
thing  happened.  In  an  instant  a  most  beautiful  young 
samurai  appeared  and  held  her  up,  thus  preventing  her 
from  falling  into  the  pond.  We  could  all  see  the  glimmer 
of  him  ;  but  your  daughter  and  I  saw  him  most  distinctly. 
Before  your  daughter  could  thank  him  he  had  disappeared. 
None  of  us  could  understand  how  it  was  possible  for  a 
man  to  get  into  the  gardens  of  the  Princess,  for  the  gates 
of  the  castle  are  guarded  on  all  sides,  and  the  Princess's 
garden  is  so  much  better  guarded  than  the  rest  that  it 
seems  truly  incredible  that  a  man  could  get  in.  We  maids 
were  asked  to  say  nothing  for  fear  of  your  lordship's 
anger.  Since  that  evening  it  is  that  our  beloved  Princess 
Aya  has  been  sick,  sir.  It  is  sickness  of  the  heart. 
She  is  deeply  in  love  with  the  young  samurai  she  saw  for 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

so  brief  a  space.  Indeed,  my  lord,  there  never  was  such 
a  handsome  man  in  the  world  before,  and  if  we  cannot 
find  him  the  young  Princess,  I  fear,  will  die/ 

'  How  is  it  possible  for  a  man  to  get  into  the  grounds  ? ' 
said  Lord  Yuki  Naizen-no-jo.  '  People  say  foxes  and 
badgers  assume  the  figures  of  men  sometimes  ;  but  even 
so  it  is  impossible  for  such  supernatural  beings  to  enter 
my  castle  grounds,  guarded  as  it  is  at  every  opening/ 

That  evening  the  poor  Princess  was  more  wearily 
unhappy  than  ever  before.  Thinking  to  enliven  her  a 
little,  the  maids  sent  for  a  celebrated  player  on  the  biwa, 
called  Yashaskita  Kengyo.  The  weather  being  hot,  they 
were  sitting  on  the  gallery  (engawa) ;  and  while  the 
musician  was  playing  c  Dannoura '  there  appeared  suddenly 
from  behind  the  peonies  the  same  handsome  young 
samurai.  He  was  visible  to  all  this  time — even  to  the 
peonies  embroidered  on  his  dress. 

'  There  he  is  !  there  he  is ! '  they  cried  ;  at  which  he 
instantly  disappeared  again.  The  Princess  was  highly 
excited,  and  seemed  more  lively  than  she  had  been  for 
days  ;  the  old  Daimio  grew  more  puzzled  than  ever  when 
he  heard  of  it. 

Next  night,  while  two  of  the  maids  were  playing  for 
their  mistress — O  Yae  San  the  flute,  and  O  Yakumo  the 
koto — the  figure  of  the  young  man  appeared  again.  A 
thorough  search  having  been  made  during  the  day  in  the 
immense  peony  beds  with  absolutely  no  result,  not  even 
the  sign  of  a  footmark,  the  thing  was  increasingly  strange. 

A  consultation  was  held,  and  it  was  decided  by  the 
lord  of  the  castle  to  invite  a  veteran  officer  of  great 
strength  and  renown,  Maki  Hiogo,  to  capture  the  youth 


The  Princess  Peony 

should  he  appear  that  evening.  Maki  Hiogo  readily 
consented,  and  at  the  appointed  time,  dressed  in  black 
and  consequently  invisible,  concealed  himself  among  the 

Music  seemed  to  have  a  fascination  for  the  young 
samurai.  It  was  while  music  was  being  played  that  he 
had  made  his  appearances.  Consequently,  O  Yae  and  O 
Yakumo  resumed  their  concert,  while  all  gazed  eagerly 
towards  the  peony  beds.  As  the  ladies  played  a  piece 
called  *  Sofuren,'  there,  sure  enough,  arose  the  figure  of 
a  young  samurai,  dressed  magnificently  in  clothes  which 
were  covered  with  embroidered  peonies.  Every  one  gazed 
at  him,  and  wondered  why  Maki  Hiogo  did  not  jump  up 
and  catch  him.  The  fact  was  that  Maki  Hiogo  was  so 
much  astonished  by  the  noble  bearing  of  the  youth 
that  at  first  he  did  not  like  to  touch  him.  Recovering 
himself,  and  thinking  of  his  duty  to  his  lord,  he  stealthily 
approached  the  young  man,  and,  seizing  him  round  the 
waist,  held  him  tight.  After  a  few  seconds  Maki  Hiogo 
felt  a  kind  of  wet  steam  falling  on  his  face  ;  by  degrees 
it  made  him  faint ;  and  he  fell  to  the  ground,  still  grasping 
the  young  samurai,  for  he  had  made  up  his  mind  that  he 
would  secure  him. 

Every  one  had  seen  the  scuffle,  and  some  of  the  guards 
came  hurrying  to  the  place.  Just  as  they  reached  the 
spot  Maki  Hiogo  came  to  his  senses,  and  shouted  : 
*  Come,  gentlemen !  I  have  caught  him.  Come  and  see  ! ' 
But  on  looking  at  what  he  held  in  his  arms  he  discovered 
it  to  be  only  a  large  peony  ! 

By  this  time  the  Lord  Naizen-no-jo  had  arrived  at  the 
spot  where  Maki  Hiogo  lay,  and  so  had  the  Princess  Aya 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

and  her  maids.  All  were  astounded  and  mystified  except 
the  Daimio  himself,  who  said  : 

'  Ah  !  it  is  as  I  said.  No  fox  or  badger  spirit  could 
pass  our  guards  and  get  into  this  garden.  It  is  the  spirit 
of  the  peony  flower  that  took  the  form  of  a  prince/ 
Turning  to  his  daughter  and  her  maids,  he  said  :  c  You 
must  take  this  as  a  compliment,  and  pay  great  respect  to 
the  peony,  and  show  the  one  caught  by  Maki  Hiogo 
kindness  as  well  by  taking  care  of  it.' 

The  Princess  Aya  carried  the  flower  back  to  her  room, 
where  she  put  it  in  a  vase  of  water  and  placed  it  near  her 
pillow.  She  felt  as  if  she  had  her  sweetheart  with  her. 
Day  by  day  she  got  better.  She  tended  the  peony  herself, 
and,  strange  to  say,  the  flower  seemed  to  get  stronger  and 
stronger,  instead  of  fading.  At  last  the  Princess  recovered. 
She  became  radiantly  beautiful,  while  the  peony  continued 
to  remain  in  perfect  bloom,  showing  no  sign  of  dying. 

The  Princess  Aya  being  now  perfectly  well,  her  father 
could  no  longer  put  off  the  wedding.  Consequently, 
some  days  later,  the  Lord  of  Ako  and  his  family  arrived 
at  the  Castle,  and  his  second  son  was  married  to  the 

As  soon  as  the  wedding  was  over  the  peony  was  found 
still  in  its  vase — but  dead  and  withered.  The  villagers 
always  after  this,  instead  of  speaking  of  the  Princess  Aya, 
or  Aya  Hime,  called  her  Botan  Hime  or  Peony  Princess. 



IN  the  compound  or  enclosure  of  the  temple  called 
Bukoji,  at  Takatsuji  (high  cross  street),  formerly  called 
Yabugashita,  which  means  '  under  the  bush,'  in  Kyoto,  a 
curio-dealer  had  his  little  shop.  His  name  was  Kihachi. 

Kihachi  had  not  much  to  sell  ;  but  what  little  he  had 
was  usually  good.  Consequently,  his  was  a  place  that  the 
better  people  looked  into  when  they  came  to  pray  —  to 
see,  if  not  to  buy  ;  —  for  they  knew  full  well  if  there  was  a 
good  thing  to  be  bought,  Kihachi  bought  it.  It  was  a 
small  and  ancient  kind  of  Christie's,  in  fact,  except  that 
things  were  not  sold  by  auction.  One  day,  the  day  on 
which  this  story  starts,  Kihachi  was  sitting  in  his  shop 
ready  either  to  gossip  or  to  sell,  when  in  walked  a  young 
knight  or  court  noble  —  'Kuge,'  the  Japanese  called  him 
in  those  days  ;  and  very  different  was  such  an  one  from  a 
knight  of  a  feudal  lord  or  of  a  Daimio,  who  was  usually 
a  blusterer.  This  particular  knight  had  been  to  the 
temple  to  pray. 

1  This  story  begins  on  the  lyth  of  February  in  the  second  year  of  Kenkyu.  As  the 
first  year  of  Kenkyu  was  in  1190  and  the  last  in  1199,  the  precise  date  is  February  17, 

297  38 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

'  You  have  many  pretty  and  interesting  things  here/ 
said  he.  '  May  I  come  in  and  look  at  them  until  this 
shower  of  rain  has  passed  ?  My  name  is  Sakata,  and  I 
belong  to  the  court/ 

c  Come  in,  come  in/  said  Kihachi,  <  by  all  means. 
Some  of  my  things  are  pretty,  and  all  are  undoubtedly 
good  ;  but  the  gentry  part  with  little  at  present.  One 
wants  to  live  two  lives  of  a  hundred  years  each  in  my 
trade — one  hundred  of  distress,  revolution,  and  trouble, 
wherein  one  may  collect  the  things  cheap  ;  and  the  next 
hundred  of  peace,  wherein  one  may  sell  them  and  enjoy 
the  proceeds.  My  business  is  rotten  and  unprofitable  ; 
yet,  in  spite  of  that,  I  love  the  things  I  buy,  and  often 
look  at  them  long  before  I  put  them  up  for  sale.  Where, 
sir,  are  you  bound  for  ?  I  see  that  you  are  going  to 
travel — by  the  clothes  you  wear  and  carry/ 

'  That's  true/  answered  Sakata  :  '  you  are  very  shrewd. 
I  am  going  to  travel  as  far  as  Toba,  in  Yamato,  to  see 
my  dearest  friend,  who  has  been  taken  suddenly  and 
mysteriously  ill.  It  is  feared  he  may  not  live  until  I  get 
there ! ' 

*  At  Toba  ! '  answered  the  old  curio-dealer.  *  Pardon 
me  if  I  ask  the  name  of  your  friend  ?  ' 

'  Certainly/  said  Sakata.  '  My  friend's  name  is  Matsui/ 

'  Then/  said  the  curio -dealer,  '  he  is  the  gentleman 
who  is  said  to  have  killed  the  ghost  or  spirit  of  the  old 
cherry  tree  near  Toba,  growing  in  the  grounds  of  the 
temple  in  which  he  lives  at  present  with  the  priests. 
The  people  say  that  this  cherry  tree  is  so  old  that  the 
spirit  left  it.  It  appeared  in  the  form  of  a  beautiful 
woman,  and  Matsui,  either  fearing  or  not  liking  it, 


IN    THE    MIDDLE    OF    THE    NIGHT 

The  Memorial  Cherry  Tree 

killed  it,  with  the  result,  they  say,  that  from  that  very 
evening,  which  was  about  ten  days  ago,  your  friend 
Matsui  has  been  sick  ;  and  I  may  add  that  when  the 
spirit  was  killed  the  tree  withered  and  died.' 

Sakata,  thanking  Kihachi  for  this  information,  went 
on  his  way,  and  eventually  found  his  friend  Matsui  being 
carefully  nursed  by  the  priest  of  the  Shonen  Temple, 
Toba,  with  whom  he  was  closely  connected. 

Soon  after  the  young  knight  had  left  the  old  curio- 
dealer  Kihachi  in  his  shop  it  began  to  snow,  and  so  it 
continued,  and  appeared  likely  to  continue  for  some  time. 
Kihachi,  therefore,  put  up  his  shutters  and  retired  to  bed, 
as  is  often  very  sensibly  done  in  Japan  ;  and  he  no  doubt 
retired  with  many  old  wood-carvings  to  rub  and  give  an 
ancient  appearance  to  during  the  period  of  darkness. 

Not  very  late  in  the  evening  there  was  a  knock  at  the 
shutters.  Kihachi,  not  wishing  to  get  out  of  his  warm 
bed,  shouted :  '  Who  are  you  ?  Come  back  in  the  morning. 
I  do  not  feel  well  enough  to  get  up  to-night.' 

*  But  you  must — you  must  get  up  !  I  am  sent  to  sell 
you  a  good  kakemono,' 1  called  the  voice  of  a  young  girl, 
so  sweetly  and  entreatingly  that  the  old  curio-dealer  got 
up,  and  after  much  fumbling  with  his  numbed  fingers 
opened  the  door. 

Snow  had  fallen  thickly  ;  but  now  it  was  clear  moon- 
light, and  Kihachi  saw  standing  before  him  a  beautiful 
girl  of  fifteen,  barefooted,  and  holding  in  her  hands  a 
kakemono  half-unfolded. 

8  See,'  said  she, '  I  have  been  sent  to  sell  you  this  ! '  She 
was  the  daughter  of  Matsui  of  Toba,  she  said. 

1  Picture. 

Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

The  old  man  called  her  in,  and  saw  that  the  picture 
was  that  of  a  beautiful  woman,  standing  up.  It  was  well 
done,  and  the  old  man  took  a  fancy  to  it. 

*  I  will  give  you  one  rio  for  it,'  said  he  ;  and  to  his 
astonishment  the  young  girl  accepted  his  offer  eagerly — so 
much  so  that  he  thought  that  perhaps  she  had  stolen  it. 
Being  a  curio-dealer,  he  said  nothing  on  that  point,  but 
paid  her  the  money.  She  ran  away  with  haste. 

'  Yes  :  she  has  stolen  it — stolen  it,  undoubtedly,' 
muttered  the  old  man.  (  But  what  am  I  supposed  to  know 
about  that  ?  The  kakemono  is  worth  fully  50  rio  if  it  is 
worth  a  cent,  and  not  often  do  such  chances  come  to  me.' 

So  delighted  was  Kihachi  with  his  purchase,  he  lit  his 
lamp,  hung  the  picture  in  his  kakemono  corner,  and  sat 
watching  it.  It  was  indeed  a  beautiful  woman  well  painted, 
and  worth  more  even  than  the  50  rio  he  at  first  thought. 
But,  by  all  the  saints,  it  seems  to  change  !  Yes  :  it  is  no 
longer  a  beautiful  woman.  The  face  has  changed  to  that 
of  a  fearful  and  horrible  figure.  The  face  of  the  woman 
has  become  haggard.  It  is  covered  with  blood.  The  eyes 
open  and  shut,  and  the  mouth  gasps.  Kihachi  feels  blood 
dropping  on  his  head  ;  it  comes  from  a  wound  in  the 
woman's  shoulder.  To  shut  out  so  horrid  a  sight,  he  put 
his  head  under  the  bed-clothes  and  remained  thus,  sleep- 
lessly,  until  dawn. 

When  he  opened  his  eyes,  the  kakemono  was  the  same 
as  when  he  had  bought  it  :  a  beautiful  woman.  He 
supposed  that  his  delight  in  having  made  a  good  bargain 
must  have  made  him  dream  :  so  he  thought  nothing  more 
about  the  horror. 

Kihachi,  however,  was  mistaken.  The  kakemono  again 


The  Memorial  Cherry  Tree 

kept  him  awake  all  night,  showing  the  same  bloody  face, 
and  occasionally  even  shrieking.  Kihachi  got  no  sleep, 
and  perceived  that  instead  of  a  cheap  bargain  he  had  got  a 
very  expensive  one  ;  for  he  felt  that  he  must  go  to  Toba 
and  return  it  to  Matsui,  and  he  knew  that  he  could  claim 
no  expenses. 

After  fully  two  days  of  travel,  Kihachi  reached  the 
Shonen  Temple,  near  Toba,  where  he  asked  to  see 
Matsui.  He  was  ushered  ceremoniously  into  his  room. 
The  invalid  was  better  ;  but  on  being  handed  the 
kakemono  with  the  figure  of  a  lady  painted  on  it  he  turned 
pale,  tore  it  to  fragments,  and  threw  it  into  the  temple  fire 
('  irori ' *)  ;  after  which  he  jumped  in  with  his  daughter 
himself,  and  both  were  burned  to  death. 

Kihachi  was  sick  for  many  days  after  this  sight.  The 
story  soon  spread  over  the  whole  surrounding  country. 

Prince  Nijo,  Governor  of  Kyoto,  had  a  thorough 
inquiry  made  into  the  circumstances  of  the  case  ;  and  it 
was  found  beyond  doubt  that  the  trouble  to  Matsui  and 
his  family  came  through  his  having  killed  the  spirit  of  the 
old  cherry  tree.  The  spirit,  to  punish  him  and  show 
that  there  was  invisible  life  in  old  and  dead  things  and 
often  of  the  best,  appeared  to  Matsui  as  a  beautiful  woman 
being  killed  ;  the  spirit  went  into  his  beautiful  picture  and 
haunted  him. 

Prince  Nijo  had  a  fine  young  cherry  tree  planted  on 
the  spot  of  the  old  to  commemorate  the  event,  and  it  is 
called  the  *  Memorial  Cherry  Tree '  to  this  day. 

1  The  story  says  '  furnace  ' j  but,  unless  cremation  went  on  in  those  days,  it  must 
have  been  the  'irori '  (open  floor  fire)  or  else  (if  a  Shinto  temple)  an  open-air  bonfire, 
which  is  lit  on  certain  days. 



THE  Japanese  say  that  ghosts  in  inanimate  nature  gener- 
ally have  more  liveliness  than  ghosts  of  the  dead.  There 
is  an  old  proverb  which  says  something  to  the  effect  that 
'  the  ghosts  of  trees  love  not  the  willow ' ;  by  which,  I 
suppose,  is  meant  that  they  do  not  assimilate.  In  Japanese 
pictures  of  ghosts  there  is  nearly  always  a  willow  tree. 
Whether  Hokusai,  the  ancient  painter,  or  Okyo  Maru- 
yama,  a  famous  painter  of  Kyoto  of  more  recent  date,  was 
responsible  for  the  pictures  with  ghosts  and  willow  trees, 
I  do  not  know  ;  but  certainly  Maruyama  painted  many 
ghosts  under  willow  trees — the  first  from  his  wife,  who 
lay  sick. 

Exactly  what  this  has  to  do  with  the  following  story  I 
cannot  see  ;  but  my  story-teller  began  with  it. 

In  the  northern  part  of  Kyoto  is  a  Shinto  temple  called 
Hirano.  It  is  celebrated  for  the  fine  cherry  trees  that 
grow  there.  Among  them  is  an  old  dead  tree  which  is 
called  4  Jirohei,'  and  is  much  cared  for  ;  but  the  story 
attached  to  it  is  little  known,  and  has  not  been  told,  I 
believe,  to  a  European  before. 




The   c  Jirohei '   Cherry  Tree,   Kyoto 

During  the  cherry  blossom  season  many  people  go  to 
view  the  trees,  especially  at  night. 

Close  to  the  Jirohei  cherry  tree,  many  years  ago,  was  a 
large  and  prosperous  tea-house,  once  owned  by  Jirohei, 
who  had  started  in  quite  a  small  way.  So  rapidly  did  he 
make  money,  he  attributed  his  success  to  the  virtue  of  the 
old  cherry  tree,  which  he  accordingly  venerated.  Jirohei 
paid  the  greatest  respect  to  the  tree,  attending  to  its  wants. 
He  prevented  boys  from  climbing  it  and  breaking  its 
branches.  The  tree  prospered,  and  so  did  he. 

One  morning  a  samurai  (of  the  blood-and-thunder  kind) 
walked  up  to  the  Hirano  Temple,  and  sat  down  at 
Jirohei's  tea-house,  to  take  a  long  look  at  the  cherry 
blossom.  He  was  a  powerful,  dark-skinned,  evil-faced 
man  about  five  feet  eight  in  height. 

'  Are  you  the  landlord  of  this  tea-house  ?  *  asked  he. 

'  Yes,  sir/  Jirohei  answered  meekly  :  '  I  am.  What 
can  I  bring  you,  sir  ? ' 

'  Nothing  :  I  thank  you/  said  the  samurai.  c  What  a 
fine  tree  you  have  here  opposite  your  tea-house  ! ' 

'  Yes,  sir :  it  is  to  the  fineness  of  the  tree  that  I  owe  my 
prosperity.  Thank  you,  sir,  for  expressing  your  apprecia- 
tion of  it.' 

< 1  want  a  branch  off  the  tree/  quoth  the  samurai, 
4  for  a  geisha.' 

'  Deeply  as  I  regret  it,  I  am  obliged  to  refuse  your 
request.  I  must  refuse  everybody.  The  tempJe  priests 
gave  orders  to  this  effect  before  they  let  me  erect  this 
place.  No  matter  who  it  may  be  that  asks,  I  must  refuse. 
Flowers  may  not  even  be  picked  off  the  tree,  though  they 
may  be  gathered  when  they  fall.  Please,  sir,  remember 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

that  there  is  an  old  proverb  which  tells  us  to  cut  the  plum 
tree  for  our  vases,  but  not  the  cherry  ! ' 

'  You  seem  to  be  an  unpleasantly  argumentative  person 
for  your  station  in  life,'  said  the  samurai.  *  When  I  say 
that  I  want  a  thing  I  mean  to  have  it  :  so  you  had  better 
go  and  cut  it.' 

'  However  much  you  may  be  determined,  I  must  refuse/ 
said  Jirohei,  quietly  and  politely. 

'  And,  however  much  you  may  refuse,  the  more  deter- 
mined am  I  to  have  it.  I  as  a  samurai  said  I  should  have 
it.  Do  you  think  that  you  can  turn  me  from  my  purpose  ? 
If  you  have  not  the  politeness  to  get  it,  I  will  take  it  by 
force.'  Suiting  his  action  to  his  words,  the  samurai  drew 
a  sword  about  three  feet  long,  and  was  about  to  cut  off 
the  best  branch  of  all.  Jirohei  clung  to  the  sleeve  of  his 
sword  arm,  crying  : 

'  I  have  asked  you  to  leave  the  tree  alone  ;  but  you 
would  not.  Please  take  my  life  instead.' 

c  You  are  an  insolent  and  annoying  fool  :  I  gladly  follow 
your  request ' ;  and  saying  this  the  samurai  stabbed  Jirohei 
slightly,  to  make  him  let  go  the  sleeve.  Jirohei  did  let  go  ; 
but  he  ran  to  the  tree,  where  in  a  further  struggle  over 
the  branch,  which  was  cut  in  spite  of  Jirohei's  defence,  he 
was  stabbed  again,  this  time  fatally.  The  samurai,  seeing 
that  the  man  must  die,  got  away  as  quickly  as  possible, 
leaving  the  cut  branch  in  full  bloom  on  the  ground. 

Hearing  the  noise,  the  servants  came  out  of  the  house, 
followed  by  Jirohei's  poor  old  wife. 

It  was  seen  that  Jirohei  himself  was  dead  ;  but  he  clung 
to  the  tree  as  firmly  as  in  life,  and  it  was  fully  an  hour 
before  they  were  able  to  get  him  away. 


The  'Jirohei'  Cherry  Tree,   Kyoto 

From  this  time  things  went  badly  with  the  tea-house. 
Very  few  people  came,  and  such  as  did  come  were  poor 
and  spent  but  little  money.  Besides,  from  the  day  of  the 
murder  of  Jirohei  the  tree  had  begun  to  fade  and  die  ;  in 
less  than  a  year  it  was  absolutely  dead.  The  tea-house 
had  to  be  closed  for  want  of  funds  to  keep  it  open.  The 
old  wife  of  Jirohei  had  hanged  herself  on  the  dead  tree  a 
few  days  after  her  husband  had  been  killed. 

People  said  that  ghosts  had  been  seen  about  the  tree, 
and  were  afraid  to  go  there  at  night.  Even  neighbouring 
tea-houses  suffered,  and  so  did  the  temple,  which  for  a 
time  became  unpopular. 

The  samurai  who  had  been  the  cause  of  all  this  kept 
his  secret,  telling  no  one  but  his  own  father  what  he  had 
done  ;  and  he  expressed  to  his  father  his  intention  of  going 
to  the  temple  to  verify  the  statements  about  the  ghosts. 
Thus  on  the  third  day  of  March  in  the  third  year  of  Keio 
(that  is,  forty-two  years  ago)  he  started  one  night  alone 
and  well  armed,  in  spite  of  his  father's  attempts  to  stop  him. 
He  went  straight  to  the  old  dead  tree,  and  hid  himself 
behind  a  stone  lantern. 

To  his  astonishment,  at  midnight  the  dead  tree  suddenly 
came  out  into  full  bloom,  and  looked  just  as  it  had  been 
when  he  cut  the  branch  and  killed  Jirohei. 

On  seeing  this  he  fiercely  attacked  the  tree  with  his 
keen-edged  sword.  He  attacked  it  with  mad  fury,  cutting 
and  slashing  ;  and  he  heard  a  fearful  scream  which  seemed 
to  him  to  come  from  inside  the  tree. 

After  half  an  hour  he  became  exhausted,  but  resolved  to 
wait  until  daybreak,  to  see  what  damage  he  had  wrought. 
When  day  dawned,  the  samurai  found  his  father  lying  on 

305  39 

Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

the  ground,  hacked  to  pieces,  and  of  course  dead.  Doubt- 
less the  father  had  followed  to  try  and  see  that  no  harm 
came  to  the  son. 

The  samurai  was  stricken  with  grief  and  shame. 
Nothing  was  left  but  to  go  and  pray  to  the  gods  for 
forgiveness,  and  to  offer  his  life  to  them,  which  he  did 
by  disembowelling  himself. 

From  that  day  the  ghost  appeared  no  more,  and 
people  came  as  before  to  view  the  cherry-bloom  by  night 
as  well  as  by  day  ;  so  they  do  even  now.  No  one  has 
ever  been  able  to  say  whether  the  ghost  which  appeared 
was  the  ghost  of  Jirohei,  or  that  of  his  wife,  or  that  of 
the  cherry  tree  which  had  died  when  its  limb  had  been 



PERHAPS  there  are  not  many,  even  in  Japan,  who  have 
heard  of  the  '  Yuki  Onna '  (Snow  Ghost).  It  is  little 
spoken  of  except  in  the  higher  mountains,  which  are 
continually  snowclad  in  the  winter.  Those  who  have 
read  Lafcadio  Hearn's  books  will  remember  a  story  of 
the  Yuki  Onna,  made  much  of  on  account  of  its  beautiful 
telling,  but  in  reality  not  better  than  the  following. 

Up  in  the  northern  province  of  Echigo,  opposite  Sado 
Island  on  the  Japan  Sea,  snow  falls  heavily.  Sometimes 
there  is  as  much  as  twenty  feet  of  it  on  the  ground,  and 
many  are  the  people  who  have  been  buried  in  the  snows 
and  never  found  until  the  spring.  Not  many  years  ago 
three  companies  of  soldiers,  with  the  exception  of  three  or 
four  men,  were  destroyed  in  Aowomori  ;  and  it  was  many 
weeks  before  they  were  dug  out,  dead  of  course. 

Mysterious  disappearances  naturally  give  rise  to  fancies 
in  a  fanciful  people,  and  from  time  immemorial  the  Snow 
Ghost  has  been  one  with  the  people  of  the  North  ;  while 
those  of  the  South  say  that  those  of  the  North  take  so 
much  sake  that  they  see  snow-covered  trees  as  women. 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

Be  that  as  it  may,  I  must  explain  what  a  farmer  called 
Kyuzaemon  saw. 

In  the  village  of  Hoi,  which  consisted  only  of  eleven 
houses,  very  poor  ones  at  that,  lived  Kyuzaemon.  He 
was  poor,  and  doubly  unfortunate  in  having  lost  both  his 
son  and  his  wife.  He  led  a  lonely  life. 

In  the  afternoon  of  the  i^th  of  January  of  the  third 
year  of  Tem-po — that  is,  1833 — a  tremendous  snowstorm 
came  on.  Kyuzaemon  closed  the  shutters,  and  made 
himself  as  comfortable  as  he  could.  Towards  eleven 
o'clock  at  night  he  was  awakened  by  a  rapping  at  his 
door  ;  it  was  a  peculiar  rap,  and  came  at  regular  intervals. 
Kyuzaemon  sat  up  in  bed,  looked  towards  the  door,  and 
did  not  know  what  to  think  of  this.  The  rapping  came 
again,  and  with  it  the  gentle  voice  of  a  girl.  Thinking 
that  it  might  be  one  of  his  neighbour's  children  wanting 
help,  Kyuzaemon  jumped  out  of  bed  ;  but  when  he  got 
to  the  door  he  feared  to  open  it.  Voice  and  rapping 
coming  again  just  as  he  reached  it,  he  sprang  back  with 
a  cry  :  4  Who  are  you  ?  What  do  you  want  ?  ' 

4  Open  the  door  !    Open  the  door  !  '    came  the  voice 
from  outside. 

4  Open  the  door  !     Is  that  likely  until  I  know  who  you 

are  and  what  you  are  doing  out  so  late  and  on  such  a  night  ? ' 

4  But  you  must  let  me  in.     How  can  I  proceed  farther 

in  this  deep  snow  ?     I  do  not  ask  for  food,  but  only  for 


4 1  am  very  sorry  ;  but  I  have  no  quilts  or  bedding.     I 
can't  possibly  let  you  stay  in  my  house.' 

4 1  don't  want  quilts  or  bedding, — only  shelter,'  pleaded 
the  voice. 





The  Snow  Ghost 

'  I  can't  let  you  in,  anyway/  shouted  Kyuzaemon.  '  It 
is  too  late  and  against  the  rules  and  the  law/ 

Saying  which,  Kyuzaemon  rebarred  his  door  with  a 
strong  piece  of  wood,  never  once  having  ventured  to  open 
a  crack  in  the  shutters  to  see  who  his  visitor  might 
be.  As  he  turned  towards  his  bed,  with  a  shudder  he 
beheld  the  figure  of  a  woman  standing  beside  it,  clad  in 
white,  with  her  hair  down  her  back.  She  had  not  the 
appearance  of  a  ghost ;  her  face  was  pretty,  and  she 
seemed  to  be  about  twenty-five  years  of  age.  Kyuzae- 
mon, taken  by  surprise  and  very  much  alarmed,  called  out  : 

1  Who  and  what  are  you,  and  how  did  you  get  in  ? 
Where  did  you  leave  your  geta.' 1 

'I  can  come  in  anywhere  when  I  choose,'  said  the 
figure,  cand  I  am  the  woman  you  would  not  let  in.  I 
require  no  clogs ;  for  I  whirl  along  over  the  snow, 
sometimes  even  flying  through  the  air.  I  am  on  my  way 
to  visit  the  next  village  ;  but  the  wind  is  against  me. 
That  is  why  I  wanted  you  to  let  me  rest  here.  If  you 
will  do  so  I  shall  start  as  soon  as  the  wind  goes  down  ;  in 
any  case  I  shall  be  gone  by  the  morning.' 

' 1  should  not  so  much  mind  letting  you  rest  if  you 
were  an  ordinary  woman.  I  should,  in  fact,  be  glad  ;  but 
I  fear  spirits  greatly,  as  my  forefathers  have  done,'  said 

'  Be  not  afraid.    You  have  a  butsudan  ? ' 2  said  the  figure. 

'  Yes  :  I  have  a  butsudan,'  said  Kyuzaemon  ;  '  but 
what  can  you  want  to  do  with  that  ? ' 

1  Clogs. 

2  Family  altar,  in  which  the  figures  of  various  gods  are  set,   and   also  the  family 
mortuary  tablets. 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

'You  say  you  are  afraid  of  the  spirits,  of  the  effect 
that  I  may  have  upon  you.  I  wish  to  pay  my  respects  to 
your  ancestors'  tablets  and  assure  their  spirits  that  no  ill 
shall  befall  you  through  me.  Will  you  open  and  light 
the  butsudan  ? ' 

c  Yes,7  said  Kyuzaemon,  with  fear  and  trembling  :  '  I 
will  open  the  butsudan,  and  light  the  lamp.  Please  pray 
for  me  as  well,  for  I  am  an  unfortunate  and  unlucky  man  ; 
but  you  must  tell  me  in  return  who  and  what  spirit  you 

'  You  want  to  know  much  ;  but  I  will  tell  you/  said 
the  spirit.  '  I  believe  you  are  a  good  man.  My  name 
was  Oyasu.  I  am  the  daughter  of  Yazaemon,  who  lives 
in  the  next  village.  My  father,  as  perhaps  you  may  have 
heard,  is  a  farmer,  and  he  adopted  into  his  family,  and  as 
a,  husband  for  his  daughter,  Isaburo.  Isaburo  is  a  good 
man  ;  but  on  the  death  of  his  wife,  last  year,  he  forsook 
his  father-in-law  and  went  back  to  his  old  home.  It  is 
principally  for  that  .reason  that  I  am  about  to  seek  and 
remonstrate  with  him  now.' 

'  Am  I  to  understand,'  said  Kyuzaemon,  '  that  the 
daughter  who  was  married  to  Isaburo  was  the  one  who 
perished  in  the  snow  last  year  ?  If  so,  you  must  be  the 
spirit  of  Oyasu  or  Isaburo's  wife  ? ' 

4  Yes :  that  is  right,'  said  the  spirit.  c  I  was  Oyasu,  the 
wife  of  Isaburo,  who  perished  now  a  year  ago  in  the  great 
snowstorm,  of  which  to-morrow  will  be  the  anniversary.' 

Kyuzaemon,  with  trembling  hands,  lit  the  lamp  in  the 
little  butsudan,  mumbling  *  Namu  Amida  Butsu  ;  Namu 
Amida  Butsu'  with  a  fervour  which  he  had  never  felt 
before.  When  this  was  done  he  saw  the  figure  of  the 


The  Snow  Ghost 

Yuki  Onna  (Snow  Spirit)  advance  ;  but  there  was  no  sound 
of  footsteps  as  she  glided  to  the  altar. 

Kyuzaemon  retired  to  bed,  where  he  promptly  fell 
asleep  ;  but  shortly  afterwards  he  was  disturbed  by  the 
voice  of  the  woman  bidding  him  farewell.  Before  he  had 
time  to  sit  up  she  disappeared,  leaving  no  sign  ;  the  fire 
still  burned  in  the  butsudan. 

Kyuzaemon  got  up  at  daybreak,  and  went  to  the  next 
village  to  see  Isaburo,  whom  he  found  living  with  his 
father-in-law,  Yazaemon. 

4  Yes/  said  Isaburo  :  c  it  was  wrong  of  me  to  leave  my 
late  wife's  father  when  she  died,  and  I  am  not  surprised 
that  on  cold  nights  when  it  snows  I  have  been  visited 
continually  by  my  wife's  spirit  as  a  reproof.  Early  this 
morning  I  saw  her  again,  and  I  resolved  to  return.  I 
have  only  been  here  two  hours  as  it  is.' 

On  comparing  notes  Kyuzaemon  and  Isaburo  found 
that  directly  the  spirit  of  Oyasu  had  left  the  house  of 
Kyuzaemon  she  appeared  to  Isaburo,  at  about  half-an- 
hour  after  midnight,  and  stayed  with  him  until  he  had 
promised  to  return  to  her  father's  house  and  help  him  to 
live  in  his  old  age. 

That  is  roughly  my  story  of  the  Yuki  Onna.  All 
those  who  die  by  the  snow  and  cold  become  spirits  of 
snow,  appearing  when  there  is  snow  ;  just  as  the  spirits  of 
those  who  are  drowned  in  the  sea  only  appear  in  stormy 

Even  to  the  present  day,  in  the  north,  priests  say 
prayers  to  appease  the  spirits  of  those  who  have  died 
by  snow,  and  to  prevent  them  from  haunting  people  who 
are  connected  with  them. 



MANY  years  ago  there  lived  a  young  man  of  the  samurai 
class  who  was  much  famed  for  his  skill  in  fencing  in  what 
was  called  the  style  of  Yagyu.  So  adept  was  he,  he 
earned  by  teaching,  under  his  master,  no  less  than  thirty 
barrels  of  rice  and  two  *  rations ' — which,  I  am  told,  vary 
from  one  to  five  sho — a  month.  As  one  sho  is  '666  feet 
square,  our  young  samurai,  Rokugo  Yakeiji,  was  well  off. 

The  seat  of  his  success  was  at  Minami-wari-gesui, 
Hongo  Yedo.  His  teacher  was  Sudo  Jirozaemon,  and 
the  school  was  at  Ishiwaraku. 

Rokugo  was  in  no  way  proud  of  his  skill.  It  was  the 
modesty  of  the  youth,  coupled  with  cleverness,  that  had 
prompted  the  teacher  to  make  his  pupil  an  assistant- 
master.  The  school  was  one  of  the  best  in  Tokio,  and 
there  were  over  100  pupils. 

One  January  the  pupils  were  assembled  to  celebrate 
the  New  Year,  and  on  this  the  seventh  day  of  it  were 

1  Told  to  me  by  Fukuchi,  in  connection  with  the  fire-lights  in  foxes.     Carefully 
translated  by  Mr.  Watanabe,  of  the  Prefectural  Government. 



The  Snow  Tomb 

drinking  nanakusa — a  kind  of  sloppy  rice  in  which  seven 
grasses  and  green  vegetables  are  mixed,  said  to  keep  off 
all  diseases  for  the  year.  The  pupils  were  engaged  in 
ghost  stories,  each  trying  to  tell  a  more  alarming  one 
than  his  neighbour,  until  the  hair  of  many  was  practically 
on  end,  and  it  was  late  in  the  evening.  It  was  the  custom 
to  keep  the  yth  of  January  in  this  way,  and  they  took 
their  turns  by  drawing  numbers.  One  hundred  candles 
were  placed  in  a  shed  at  the  end  of  the  garden,  and  each 
teller  of  a  story  took  his  turn  at  bringing  one  away,  until 
they  had  all  told  a  story  ;  this  was  to  upset,  if  possible, 
the  bragging  of  the  pupil  who  said  he  did  not  believe  in 
ghosts  and  feared  nothing. 

At  last  it  came  to  the  turn  of  Rokugo.  After  fetching 
his  candle  from  the  end  of  the  garden,  he  spoke  as 
follows  : 

4  My  friends,  listen  to  my  story.  It  is  not  very  dread- 
ful ;  but  it  is  true.  Some  three  years  ago,  when  I  was 
seventeen,  my  father  sent  me  to  Gifu,  in  Mino  Province. 
I  reached  on  the  way  a  place  called  Nakimura  about  ten 
o'clock  in  the  evening.  Outside  the  village,  on  some 
wild  uncultivated  land,  I  saw  a  curious  fireball.  It  moved 
here  and  there  without  noise,  came  quite  close  to  me  and 
then  went  away  again,  moving  generally  as  if  looking  for 
something ;  it  went  round  and  round  over  the  same 
ground  time  after  time.  It  was  generally  five  feet  off 
the  ground  ;  but  sometimes  it  went  lower.  I  will  not 
say  that  I  was  frightened,  because  subsequently  I  went 
to  the  Miyoshiya  inn,  and  to  bed,  without  mentioning 
what  I  had  seen  to  any  one  ;  but  I  can  assure  you  all 
that  I  was  very  glad  to  be  in  the  house.  Next  morning 

313  40 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

my  curiosity  got  the  better  of  me.  I  told  the  landlord 
what  I  had  seen,  and  he  recounted  to  me  a  story.  He 
said  :  "  About  200  years  ago  a  great  battle  was  fought 
here,  and  the  general  who  was  defeated  was  himself 
killed.  When  his  body  was  recovered,  early  in  the  action, 
it  was  found  to  be  headless.  The  soldiers  thought  that 
the  head  must  have  been  stolen  by  the  enemy.  One, 
more  anxious  than  the  rest  to  find  his  master's  head, 
continued  to  search  while  the  action  went  on.  While 
searching  he  himself  was  killed.  Since  that  evening, 
200  years  ago,  the  fireball  has  been  burning  after  ten 
o'clock.  The  people  from  that  time  till  now  have  called 
it  Kubi  sagas  hi  no  hi."  l  As  the  master  of  the  inn  finished 
relating  this  story,  my  friends,  I  felt  an  unpleasant 
sensation  in  the  heart.  It  was  the  first  thing  of  a  ghostly 
kind  that  I  had  seen.' 

The  pupils  agreed  that  the  story  was  strange.  Rokugo 
pushed  his  toes  into  his  '  geta '  (clogs),  and  started  to  fetch 
his  candle  from  the  end  of  the  garden.  He  had  not 
proceeded  far  into  the  garden  before  he  heard  the  voice 
of  a  woman.  It  was  not  very  dark,  as  there  was  snow 
on  the  ground  ;  but  Rokugo  could  see  no  woman.  He 
had  got  as  far  as  the  candles  when  he  heard  the  voice 
again,  and,  turning  suddenly,  saw  a  beautiful  woman  of 
some  eighteen  summers.  Her  clothes  were  fine.  The 
obi  (belt)  was  tied  in  the  tateyanojiri  (shape  of  the  arrow 
standing  erect,  as  an  arrow  in  a  quiver).  The  dress  was 
all  of  the  pine- and -bamboo  pattern,  and  her  hair  was 
done  in  the  shimada  style.  Rokugo  stood  looking  at  her 
with  wonder  and  admiration.  A  minute's  reflection 

1  The  head-seeking  fire. 


The  Snow  Tomb 

showed  him  that  it  could  be  no  girl,  and  that  her  beauty 
had  almost  made  him  forget  that  he  was  a  samurai. 

'  No  :  it  is  no  real  woman  :  it  is  a  ghost.  What  an 
opportunity  for  me  to  distinguish  myself  before  all  my 
friends  ! ' 

Saying  which,  he  drew  his  sword,  tempered  by  the 
famous  Moriye  Shinkai,  and  with  one  downward  cut 
severed  head,  body,  and  all,  into  halves. 

He  ran,  seized  a  candle,  and  took  it  back  to  the  room 
where  the  pupils  were  awaiting  him  ;  there  he  told  the 
story,  and  begged  them  to  come  and  see  the  ghost.  All 
the  young  men  looked  at  one  another,  none  of  them 
being  partial  to  ghosts  in  what  you  may  call  real  life. 
None  cared  to  venture  ;  but  by  and  by  Yamamoto 
Jonosuke,  with  better  courage  than  the  rest,  said,  '  I  will 
go/  and  dashed  off.  As  soon  as  the  other  pupils  saw 
this,  they  also,  gathering  pluck,  went  forth  into  the 

When  they  came  to  the  spot  where  the  dead  ghost 
was  supposed  to  lie,  they  found  only  the  remains  of  a 
snow  man  which  they  themselves  had  made  during  the 
day  ;  and  this  was  cut  in  half  from  head  to  foot,  just  as 
Rokugo  had  described.  They  all  laughed.  Several  of 
the  young  samurai  were  angry,  for  they  thought  that 
Rokugo  had  been  making  fools  of  them  ;  but  when  they 
returned  to  the  house  they  soon  saw  that  Rokugo  had 
not  been  trifling.  They  found  him  sitting  with  an  air 
of  great  haughtiness,  and  thinking  that  his  pupils  would 
now  indeed  see  how  able  a  swordsman  he  was. 

However,  they  looked  at  Rokugo  scornfully,  and 
addressed  him  thus  : 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

'  Indeed,  we  have  received  remarkable  evidence  of 
your  ability.  Even  the  small  boy  who  throws  a  stone 
at  a  dog  would  have  had  the  courage  to  do  what  you 

Rokugo  became  angry,  and  called  them  insolent.  He 
lost  his  temper  to  such  an  extent  that  for  a  moment  his 
hand  flew  to  his  sword  hilt,  and  he  even  threatened  to 
kill  one  or  two  of  them. 

The  samurai  apologised  for  their  rudeness,  but  added  : 
'  Your  ghost  was  only  the  snow  man  we  made  ourselves 
this  morning.  That  is  why  we  tell  you  that  a  child  need 
not  fear  to  attack  it.' 

At  this  information  Rokugo  was  confounded,  and  he 
in  his  turn  apologised  for  his  temper  ;  nevertheless,  he 
said  he  could  not  understand  how  it  was  possible  for  him 
to  mistake  a  snow  man  for  a  female  ghost.  Puzzled  and 
ashamed,  he  begged  his  friends  not  to  say  any  more  about 
the  matter,  but  keep  it  to  themselves  ;  thereupon  he  bade 
them  farewell  and  left  the  house. 

It  was  no  longer  snowing  ;  but  the  snow  lay  thick 
upon  the  ground.  Rokugo  had  had  a  good  deal  of  sake, 
and  his  gait  was  not  over-steady  as  he  made  his  way  home 
to  Warigesui. 

When  he  passed  near  the  gates  of  the  Korinji  Temple 
he  noticed  a  woman  coming  faster  than  he  could  under- 
stand through  the  temple  grounds.  He  leaned  against 
the  fence  to  watch  her.  Her  hair  was  dishevelled,  and 
she  was  all  out  of  order.  Soon  a  man  came  running 
behind  her  with  a  butcher's  knife  in  his  hand,  and  shouted 
as  he  caught  her  : 

*  You  wicked  woman  !  You  have  been   unfaithful  to 

The  Snow  Tomb 

your  poor  husband,  and  I  will  kill  you  for  it,  for  I  am  his 

Stabbing  her  five  or  six  times,  he  did  so,  and  then 
moved  away.  Rukugo,  resuming  his  way  homewards, 
thought  what  a  good  friend  must  be  the  man  who  had 
killed  the  unfaithful  wife.  A  bad  woman  justly  rewarded 
with  death,  thought  he. 

Rokugo  had  not  gone  very  far,  however,  when,  to  his 
utter  astonishment,  he  met  face  to  face  the  woman  whom 
he  had  just  seen  killed.  She  was  looking  at  him  with 
angry  eyes,  and  she  said  : 

'  How  can  a  brave  samurai  watch  so  cruel  a  murder  as 
you  have  just  seen,  enjoying  the  sight  ? ' 

Rokugo  was  much  astonished. 

'  Do  not  talk  to  me  as  if  I  were  your  husband/  said  he, 
'  for  I  am  not.  I  was  pleased  to  see  you  killed  for  being 
unfaithful.  Indeed,  if  you  are  the  ghost  of  the  woman  1 
shall  kill  you  myself ! '  Before  he  could  draw  his  sword 
the  ghost  had  vanished. 

Rokugo  continued  his  way,  and  on  nearing  his  house 
he  met  a  woman,  who  came  up  to  him  with  horrible  face 
and  clenched  teeth,  as  if  in  agony. 

He  had  had  enough  troubles  with  women  that  evening. 
They  must  be  foxes  who  had  assumed  the  forms  of 
women,  thought  he,  as  he  continued  to  gaze  at  this  last 

At  that  moment  he  recollected  that  he  had  heard  of  a 
fact  about  fox-women.  It  was  that  fire  coming  from  the 
bodies  of  foxes  and  badgers  is  always  so  bright  that  even 
on  the  darkest  night  you  can  tell  the  colour  of  their  hair, 
or  even  the  figures  woven  in  the  stuffs  they  wear,  when 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

assuming  the  forms  of  men  or  women  ;  it  is  clearly  visible 
at  one  ken  (six  feet).  Remembering  this,  Rokugo  ap- 
proached a  little  closer  to  the  woman  ;  and,  sure  enough, 
he  could  see  the  pattern  of  her  dress,  shown  up  as  if  fire 
were  underneath.  The  hair,  too,  seemed  to  have  fire 
under  it. 

Knowing  now  that  it  was  a  fox  he  had  to  do  with, 
Rokugo  drew  his  best  sword,  the  famous  one  made  by 
Moriye,  and  proceeded  to  attack  carefully,  for  he  knew  he 
should  have  to  hit  the  fox  and  not  the  spirit  of  the  fox  in 
the  woman's  form.  (It  is  said  that  whenever  a  fox  or  a 
badger  transforms  itself  into  human  shape  the  real  presence 
stands  beside  the  apparition.  If  the  apparition  appears 
on  the  left  side,  the  presence  of  the  animal  himself  is  on 
the  right.) 

Rokugo  made  his  attack  accordingly,  killing  the  fox 
and  consequently  the  apparition. 

He  ran  to  his  house,  and  called  up  his  relations,  who 
came  flocking  out  with  lanterns.  Near  a  myrtle  tree 
which  was  almost  two  hundred  years  old,  they  found  the 
body — not  of  fox  or  badger,  but — of  an  otter.  The 
animal  was  carried  home.  Next  day  invitations  were 
issued  to  all  the  pupils  at  the  fencing-school  to  come  and 
see  it,  and  a  great  feast  was  given.  Rokugo  had  wiped 
away  a  great  disgrace.  The  pupils  erected  a  tomb  for  the 
beast ;  it  is  known  as  '  Yukidzuka '  (The  Snow  Tomb),  and 
is  still  to  be  seen  in  the  Korinji  Temple  at  Warigesui 
Honjo,  in  Tokio. 



IN  the  year  1716  of  the  Kyoho  Era — 191  years  ago — 
there  lived  at  Momoyama  Fushimi,  an  old  gardener, 
Hambei,  who  was  loved  and  respected  for  his  kindliness  of 
nature  and  his  great  honesty.  Though  a  poor  man, 
Hambei  had  saved  enough  to  live  on  ;  and  he  had  inherited 
a  house  and  garden  from  his  father.  Consequently,  he 
was  happy.  His  favourite  pastime  was  tending  the  garden 
and  an  extraordinarily  fine  plum  tree  known  in  Japan  as 
of  the  furyo  kind  (which  means  c  lying  dragon  '  ).  Such 
trees  are  of  great  value,  and  much  sought  after  for  the 
arrangement  of  gardens.  Curiously  enough,  though  one 
may  see  many  beautiful  ones,  trees  growing  on  mountains 
or  on  wild  islands,  they  are  very  rarely  touched  except 
near  the  larger  commercial  centres.  Indeed,  the  Japanese 
have  almost  a  veneration  for  some  of  these  fantastic  furyo- 
shaped  trees,  and  leave  them  alone,  whether  they  be  pines 
or  plums. 

The  tree  in  question  Hambei  loved  so  much  that  no 
offer  people  could  make  would  induce  him  to  part  with  it. 
So  notoriously  beautiful  were  the  tints  and  curves  of  this 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

old  stunted  tree,  large  sums  had  many  times  been  offered 
for  it.  Hambei  loved  it  not  only  for  its  beauty  but  also 
because  it  had  belonged  to  his  father  and  grandfather. 
Now  in  his  old  age,  with  his  wife  in  her  dotage  and  his 
children  gone,  it  was  his  chief  companion.  In  the  autumn 
he  tended  it  in  its  untidiness  of  dead  and  dying  leaves. 
He  felt  sorry  and  sympathetic  for  it  in  its  cold  and  bare 
state  in  November  and  December  ;  but  in  January  he  was 
happily  employed  in  watching  the  buds  which  would 
blossom  in  February.  When  they  did  bloom  it  was  his 
custom  to  let  the  people  come  at  certain  hours  daily  to 
see  the  tree  and  listen  to  stories  of  historical  facts,  and  also 
to  stories  of  romance,  regarding  the  plum  tree,  of  which 
the  Japanese  mind  is  ever  full.  When  this  again  was  over 
Hambei  pruned  and  tied  the  tree.  In  the  hot  season  he 
lingered  under  it  smoking  his  pipe,  and  was  often  rewarded 
for  his  care  by  two  or  three  dozen  delicious  plums,  which 
he  valued  and  loved  as  much  almost  as  if  they  had  been 
his  own  offspring. 

Thus,  year  after  year,  the  tree  had  become  so  much 
Hambei's  companion  that  a  king's  ransom  would  not 
have  bought  it  from  him. 

Alas  !  no  man  is  destined  to  be  let  alone  in  this  world. 
Some  one  is  sure,  sooner  or  later,  to  covet  his  property. 
It  came  to  pass  that  a  high  official  at  the  Emperor's 
court  heard  of  Hambei's  furyo  tree  and  wanted  it  for  his 
own  garden.  This  dainagon  sent  his  steward,  Kotaro 
Naruse,  to  see  Hambei  with  a  view  to  purchase,  never 
for  a  moment  doubting  that  the  old  gardener  would 
readily  sell  if  the  sum  offered  were  sufficient. 

Kotaro  Naruse  arrived  at  Momoyama  Fushimi,  and 



THE    OLD    MAN 

The  Dragon-Shaped  Plum  Tree 

was  received  with  due  ceremony.  After  drinking  a  cup 
of  tea,  he  announced  that  he  had  been  sent  to  inspect  and 
make  arrangements  to  take  the  furyo  plum  tree  for  the 

Hambei  was  perplexed.  What  excuse  for  refusal 
should  he  make  to  so  high  a  personage?  He  made  a 
fumbling  and  rather  stupid  remark,  of  which  the  clever 
steward  soon  took  advantage. 

'  On  no  account/  said  Hambei,  '  can  I  sell  the  old  tree. 
I  have  refused  many  offers  for  it  already.' 

*  I  never  said  that  I  was  sent  to  buy  the  tree  for 
money,'  said  Kotaro.  *  I  said  that  I  had  come  to  make 
arrangements  by  which  the  dainagon  could  have  it 
conveyed  carefully  to  his  palace,  where  he  proposes  to 
welcome  it  with  ceremony  and  treat  it  with  the  greatest 
kindness.  It  is  like  taking  a  bride  to  the  palace  for  the 
dainagon.  Oh,  what  an  honour  for  the  plum  tree,  to  be 
united  by  marriage  with  one  of  such  illustrious  lineage  ! 
You  should  indeed  be  proud  of  such  a  union  for  your 
tree  !  Please  be  counselled  by  me  and  grant  the  dainagon's 
wish  ! ' 

What  was  Hambei  now  to  say?  Such  a  lowly-born 
person,  asked  by  a  gallant  samurai  to  grant  a  favour  to 
no  less  a  person  than  the  dainagon ! 

'  Sir,'  he  answered,  *  your  request  in  behalf  of  the 
dainagon  has  been  so  courteously  made  that  I  am  com- 
pletely prevented  from  refusing.  You  must,  however, 
tell  the  dainagon  that  the  tree  is  a  present,  for  I  cannot 
sell  it.' 

Kotaro  was  greatly  pleased  with  the  success  of  his 
manoeuvres,  and,  drawing  from  his  clothes  a  bag,  said  : 

321  41 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

'  Please,  as  is  customary  on  making  a  gift,  accept  this 
small  one  in  return/ 

To  the  gardener's  great  astonishment,  the  bag  con- 
tained gold.  He  returned  it  to  Kotaro,  saying  that  it 
was  impossible  to  accept  the  gift  ;  but  on  again  being 
pressed  by  the  smooth-tongued  samurai  he  retracted. 

The  moment  Kotaro  had  left,  Hambei  regretted  this. 
He  felt  as  if  he  had  sold  his  own  flesh  and  blood — as  if 
he  had  sold  his  daughter — to  the  dainagon. 

That  evening  he  could  not  sleep.  Towards  midnight 
his  wife  rushed  into  his  room,  and,  pulling  him  by  the 
sleeve,  shouted  : 

c  You  wicked  old  man !  You  villainous  old  rascal ! 
At  your  age  too  !  Where  did  you  get  that  girl  ?  I  have 
caught  you !  Don't  tell  me  lies !  You  are  going  to 
beat  me  now — I  see  by  your  eyes.  I  am  not  surprised 
if  you  avenge  yourself  in  this  way — you  must  feel  an  old 
fool ! ' 

Hambei  thought  his  wife  had  gone  off  her  head  for 
good  this  time.  He  had  seen  no  girl. 

'  What  is  the  matter  with  you,  obaa  San  ? ' l  he  asked. 
*  I  have  seen  no  girl,  and  do  not  know  what  you  are 
talking  about/ 

'  Don't  tell  me  lies  !  I  saw  her  !  I  saw  her  myself 
when  I  went  down  to  get  a  cup  of  water  ! ' 

4  Saw,  saw — what  do  you  mean  ? '  said  Hambei.  '  I 
think  you  have  gone  mad,  talking  of  seeing  girls  ! ' 

'  I  did  see  her  !  I  saw  her  weeping  outside  the  door. 
And  a  beautiful  girl  she  was,  you  old  sinner, — only 
seventeen  or  eighteen  years  of  age.' 

1  Old  woman. 

The  Dragon-Shaped  Plum  Tree 

Hambei  got  out  of  bed,  to  see  for  himself  whether  his 
wife  had  spoken  the  truth  or  had  gone  truly  mad. 

On  reaching  the  door  he  heard  sobbing,  and,  on 
opening,  beheld  a  beautiful  girl. 

'  Who  are  you,  and  why  here  ? '  asked  Hambei. 

*  I  am  the  Spirit  of  the  Plum  Tree,  which  for  so  many 
years  you  have  tended  and  loved,  as  did  your  father 
before  you.  I  have  heard — and  grieve  greatly  at  it — 
that  an  arrangement  has  been  made  whereby  I  am  to  be 
removed  to  the  dainagon's  gardens.  It  may  seem  good 
fortune  to  belong  to  a  noble  family,  and  an  honour  to  be 
taken  into  it.  I  cannot  complain  ;  yet  I  grieve  at  being 
moved  from  where  I  have  been  so  long,  and  from  you, 
who  have  so  carefully  tended  to  my  wants.  Can  you 
not  let  me  remain  here  a  little  longer — as  long  as  I  live  ? 
I  pray  you,  do  ! ' 

'  I  have  made  a  promise  to  send  you  off  on  Saturday 
to  the  dainagon  in  Kyoto  ;  but  I  cannot  refuse  your  plea, 
for  I  love  to  have  you  here.  Be  easy  in  your  mind,  and 
I  will  see  what  can  be  done/  said  Hambei. 

The  spirit  dried  its  tears,  smiled  at  Hambei,  and  dis- 
appeared as  it  were  into  the  stem  of  the  tree,  while  Hambei's 
wife  stood  looking  on  in  wonder,  not  at  all  reassured  that 
there  was  not  some  trick  on  her  husband's  part. 

At  last  the  fatal  Saturday  on  which  the  tree  was  to  be 
removed  arrived,  and  Kotaro  came  with  many  men  and 
a  cart.  Hambei  told  him  what  had  happened — of  the 
tree's  spirit  and  of  what  it  had  implored  of  him. 

'  Here  !  take  the  money,  please,'  said  the  old  man. 
*  Tell  the  story  to  the  dainagon  as  I  tell  it  to  you,  and 
surely  he  will  have  mercy.' 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

Kotaro  was  angry,  and  said  : 

'  How  has  this  change  come  about  ?  Have  you  been 
drinking  too  much  sak6,  or  are  you  trying  to  fool  me  ? 
You  must  be  careful,  I  warn  you  ;  else  you  shall  find 
yourself  headless.  Even  supposing  the  spirit  of  the  tree 
did  appear  to  you  in  the  form  of  a  girl,  did  it  say  that  it 
would  be  sorry  to  leave  your  poor  garden  for  a  place  of 
honour  in  that  of  the  dainagon  ?  You  are  a  fool,  and  an 
insulting  fool — how  dare  you  return  the  dainagon's  present  ? 
How  could  I  explain  such  an  insult  to  him,  and  what  would 
he  think  of  me  ?  As  you  are  not  keeping  your  word, 
I  will  take  the  tree  by  force,  or  kill  you  in  place  of  it.' 

Kotaro  was  greatly  enraged.  He  kicked  Hambei 
down  the  steps,  and,  drawing  his  sword,  was  about  to  cut 
off  his  head,  when  suddenly  there  was  a  little  puff  of  wind 
scented  with  plum  blossom,  and  then  there  stood  in  front 
of  Kotaro  the  beautiful  girl,  the  Spirit  of  the  Plum  Tree  ! 

'  Get  out  of  my  way,  or  you  will  get  hurt,'  shouted 

'  No  :  I  will  not  go  away.  You  had  better  kill  me, 
the  spirit  that  has  brought  such  trouble,  instead  of  killing 
a  poor  innocent  old  man,'  said  the  spirit. 

c  I  don't  believe  in  the  spirits  of  plum  trees,'  said 
Kotaro.  '  That  you  are  a  spirit  is  evident ;  but  you  are 
only  that  of  an  old  fox.  So  I  will  comply  with  your 
request,  and  at  all  events  kill  you  first.' 

No  sooner  had  he  said  this  than  he  made  a  cut  with 
his  sword,  and  he  distinctly  felt  that  he  cut  through  a 
body.  The  girl  disappeared,  and  all  that  fell  was  a  branch 
of  the  plum  tree  and  most  of  the  flowers  that  were 


The  Dragon- Shaped  Plum  Tree 

Kotaro  now  realised  that  what  the  gardener  had  told 
him  was  true,  and  made  apologies  accordingly. 

' 1  will  carry  this  branch  to  the  dainagon,'  said  he, 
4  and  see  if  he  will  listen  to  the  story.' 

Thus  was  Hambei's  life  saved  by  the  spirit  of  the  tree. 

The  dainagon  heard  the  story,  and  was  so  moved  that 
he  sent  the  old  gardener  a  kind  message,  and  told  him  to 
keep  the  tree  and  the  money,  as  an  expression  of  his 
sorrow  for  the  trouble  which  he  had  brought  about. 

Alas,  however,  the  tree  withered  and  died  soon  after 
Kotaro's  cruel  blow  and  in  spite  of  Hambei's  care.  The 
dead  stump  was  venerated  for  many  years. 


LI  I 

IN  olden  times,  long  before  the  misfortunes  of  Europeanisa- 
tion  came  to  Japan,  there  lived  at  Kasamatsu,  in  Nakasatani, 
near  Shichikwai  mura  Shinji  gun,  Hitachi  Province,  a  hot- 
headed old  Daimio,  Oda  Sayemon.  His  castle  stood  on 
the  top  of  a  pine-clad  hill  about  three  miles  from  what  is 
now  known  as  Kamitachi  station  on  the  Nippon  Railway. 
Sayemon  was  noted  for  his  bravery  as  a  soldier,  for  his 
abominable  play  at  go  (or  goban),  and  for  his  bad  temper 
and  violence  when  he  lost,  which  was  invariably. 

His  most  intimate  friends  among  his  retainers  had 
tried  hard  to  reform  his  manners  after  losing  at  go  ;  but 
it  was  hopeless.  All  those  who  won  from  him  he  struck 
in  the  face  with  a  heavy  iron  fan,  such  as  was  carried  by 
warriors  in  those  days  ;  and  he  would  just  as  readily  have 
drawn  his  sword  and  cut  his  best  friend's  head  off  as 
be  interfered  with  on  those  occasions.  To  be  invited  to 

1  This  story  (with  the  exception  of  the  ghost)  I  believe  to  be  true,  for  the  '  seppuku  ' 
of  Saito  Ukon  is  just  the  kind  of  reasoning  that  would  have  been  held  out  in  the  days 
of  the  story,  and  is  even  to-day  possible  in  many  cases.  See  a  case — quoted  by  Professor 
Chamberlain— of  the  servant  to  an  Englishman  at  Yokohama,  and  note  the  number  of 
cases  in  the  recent  war. 



The  Chessboard  Cherry  Tree 

play  go  with  their  lord  was  what  all  his  bold  samurai 
dreaded  most.  At  last  it  was  agreed  among  them  that 
sooner  than  suffer  the  gross  indignity  of  being  struck  by 
him  when  they  won  they  would  let  him  win.  After  all,  it 
did  not  much  matter,  there  being  no  money  on  the  game. 
Thus  Sayemon's  game  grew  worse  and  worse,  for  he  never 
learned  anything  ;  yet  in  his  conceit  he  thought  he  was 
better  than  everybody. 

On  the  3rd  of  March,  in  honour  of  his  little  daughter 
O  Chio,  he  gave  a  dinner-party  to  his  retainers.  The  3rd 
of  March  is  the  Dolls'  Day  (Hina-no-sekku) — the  day 
upon  which  girls  bring  out  their  dolls.  People  go  from 
house  to  house  to  see  them,  and  the  little  owners  offer  you 
sweet  white  sake  in  a  doll's  cup  with  much  ceremony. 
Sayemon,  no  doubt,  chose  this  day  of  feasting  as  a 
compliment  to  his  daughter — for  he  gave  sweet  white 
sake  after  their  food,  to  be  drunk  to  the  health  of  the 
dolls,  instead  of  men's  sake,  which  the  guests  would  have 
liked  much  better.  Sayemon  himself  absolutely  disliked 
sweet  sake.  So  as  soon  as  the  feast  was  over  he  called 
Saito  Ukon,  one  of  his  oldest  and  most  faithful  warriors, 
to  come  and  play  go  with  him,  leaving  the  others  to  drink. 
Ukon,  curiously  enough,  had  not  played  with  his  lord 
before,  and  he  was  delighted  that  he  had  been  chosen. 
He  had  made  up  his  mind  to  die  that  evening  after  giving 
his  master  a  proper  lesson. 

In  a  luxuriously  decorated  room  there  was  placed  a 
goban  (chessboard)  with  two  go-cases  containing  the  men, 
which  are  made  of  white  and  black  stones.  The  white 
stones  are  usually  taken  by  the  superior  player  and  the 
black  by  the  inferior.  Without  any  apology  or  explanation, 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

Ukon  took  the  case  containing  the  white  stones,  and 
began  to  place  them  as  if  he  were  without  question  the 
superior  player. 

Sayemon's  temper  began  to  work  up  ;  but  he  did  not 
show  it.  So  many  games  of  go  had  his  retainers  allowed 
him  to  win  lately,  he  was  fully  confident  that  he  should 
win  again,  and  that  Ukon  would  have  in  addition  to 
apologise  for  presuming  to  take  the  white  stones. 

The  game  ended  in  a  win  for  Ukon. 

'  I  must  have  another  game/  said  Sayemon.  '  I  was 
careless  in  that  one.  I  will  soon  show  you  how  I  can 
beat  you  when  I  try.' 

Again  Sayemon  was  beaten — this  time  not  without 
losing  his  temper,  for  his  face  turned  red,  his  eyes  looked 
devilish,  and  with  a  bullying  voice  full  of  passion  he  roared 
for  a  third  game. 

This  also  Ukon  won.  Sayemon's  wrath  knew  no 
bounds.  Seizing  his  iron  fan,  he  was  about  to  smite 
Ukon  a  violent  blow  in  the  face.  His  opponent  caught 
him  by  the  wrist,  and  said  : 

*  My  Lord,  what  ideas  have  you  about  games  ?  Your 
Lordship  seems  to  think  curiously  about  them !  It  is 
the  better  player  who  wins  ;  while  the  inferior  must  fail. 
If  you  fail  to  beat  me  at  go,  it  is  because  you  are  the 
inferior  player.  Is  this  manner  of  your  Lordship's  in 
taking  defeat  from  a  superior  up  to  the  form  of 
bushido  in  a  samurai,  as  we  are  taught  it  ?  Be  counselled 
by  me,  your  faithful  retainer,  and  be  not  so  hasty  with 
your  anger  —  it  ill  befits  one  in  your  Lordship's  high 
position.'  And,  with  a  look  full  of  reproof  at  Sayemon, 
Ukon  bowed  almost  to  the  ground. 


The  Chessboard  Cherry  Tree 

'  You  insolent  rascal ! '  roared  Sayemon.  '  How  dare 
you  speak  to  me  like  that  ?  Don't  move  !  Stand  as  you 
are,  with  your  head  bowed,  so  that  I  may  take  it  off/ 

*  Your  sword  is  to  kill  your  enemies,  not  your  retainers 
and  friends,'  said  Ukon.  '  Sheathe  your  sword,  my  Lord. 
You  need  not  trouble  yourself  to  kill  me,  for  I  have 
already  done  seppuku *  in  order  to  offer  you  the  advice 
which  I  have  given,  and  to  save  all  others.  See  here, 
my  Lord  ! '  Ukon  opened  his  clothes  and  exhibited  an 
immense  cut  across  his  stomach. 

Sayemon  stood  for  a  minute  taken  aback,  and  while  he 
thus  stood  Ukon  spoke  to  him  once  more,  telling  him 
how  he  must  control  his  temper  and  treat  his  subjects 

On  hearing  this  advice  again  Sayemon's  passion  returned. 
Seizing  his  sword,  he  rushed  upon  Ukon,  and,  crying, 
'  Not  even  by  your  dying  spirit  will  I  allow  myself  to  be 
advised,'  made  a  furious  cut  at  Ukon's  head.  He  missed, 
and  cut  the  go-board  in  two  instead.  Then,  seeing  that 
Ukon  was  dying  rapidly,  Sayemon  dropped  beside  him, 
crying  bitterly  and  saying  : 

'  Much  do  I  regret  to  see  you  thus  die,  oh  faithful 
Ukon  !  In  losing  you  I  lose  my  oldest  and  most  faithful 
retainer.  You  have  served  me  faithfully  and  fought  most 
gallantly  in  all  my  battles.  Pardon  me,  I  beg  of  you  !  I 
will  take  your  advice.  It  was  surely  a  sign  by  the  gods 
that  they  were  displeased  at  my  conduct  when  they  made 
me  miss  your  head  with  my  sword  and  cut  the  go-board.' 

Ukon  was  pleased  to  find  his  lord  at  last  repentant. 
He  said  : 

1  '  Disembowelled  myself.' 

329  42 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

'  I  shall  not  even  in  death  forget  the  relation  between 
master  and  servant,  and  my  spirit  shall  be  with  you  and 
watch  over  your  welfare  as  long  as  you  live.' 

Then  Ukon  breathed  his  last. 

Sayemon  was  so  much  moved  by  the  faithfulness  of 
Ukon  that  he  caused  him  to  be  buried  in  his  own  garden, 
and  he  buried  the  broken  go-board  with  him.  From  that 
time  on  the  Lord  Sayemon's  conduct  was  completely 
reformed.  He  was  good  and  kind  to  all  his  subjects,  and 
all  his  people  were  happy. 

A  few  months  after  Ukon's  death,  a  cherry  tree  sprang 
out  of  his  grave.  In  three  years  the  tree  grew  to  be  a 
fine  one  and  bloomed  luxuriantly. 

On  the  jrd  of  March  in  the  third  year,  the  anniversary 
of  Ukon's  death,  Sayemon  was  surprised  to  find  it  suddenly 
in  bloom.  He  was  looking  at  it,  and  thinking  of  water- 
ing it  himself,  as  usual  on  that  day,  when  he  suddenly  saw 
a  faint  figure  standing  by  the  stem  of  the  tree.  Just  as 
he  said,  '  You  are,  I  know,  the  spirit  of  faithful  Saito 
Ukon/  the  figure  disappeared.  Sayemon  ran  to  the  tree, 
to  pour  water  over  the  roots,  when  he  noticed  that  the 
bark  of  some  feet  of  the  stem  had  all  cracked  up  to  the 
size  and  shape  of  the  squares  of  a  go-board  !  He  was 
much  impressed.  For  years  afterwards — until,  in  fact, 
Sayemon's  death — the  ghost  of  Ukon  appeared  on  each 
3rd  of  March. 

A  fence  was  built  round  the  tree,  which  was  held 
sacred  ;  and  even  to  the  present,  they  say,  the  tree  is  to 
be  seen. 




IDE  KAMMOTSU  was  a  vassal  of  the  Lord  of  Nakura  town, 
in  Kishu.  His  ancestors  had  all  been  brave  warriors,  and 
he  had  greatly  distinguished  himself  in  a  battle  at  Shizu- 
gatake,  which  took  its  name  from  a  mountain  in  the 
province  of  Omi.  The  great  Hideyoshi  had  successfully 
fought  in  the  same  place  so  far  back  as  in  the  eleventh 
year  of  the  Tensho  Era  1573-1592 — that  is,  1584 — with 
Shibata  Katsuiye.  Ide  Kammotsu's  ancestors  were  loyal 
men.  One  of  them  as  a  warrior  had  a  reputation  second 
to  none.  He  had  cut  the  heads  off  no  fewer  than  forty- 
eight  men  with  one  sword.  In  due  time  this  weapon 
came  to  Ide  Kammotsu,  and  was  kept  by  him  as  a  most 
valuable  family  treasure.  Rather  early  in  life  Kammotsu 
found  himself  a  widower.  His  young  wife  left  a  son, 
called  Fujiwaka.  By  and  by  Kammotsu,  feeling  lonely, 
married  a  lady  whose  name  was  Sadako.  Sadako  later 
bore  a  son,  who  was  called  Goroh.  Twelve  or  fourteen 
years  after  that,  Kammotsu  himself  died,  leaving  the  two 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

sons  in  charge  of  Sadako.  Fujiwaka  was  at  that  time 
nineteen  years  of  age. 

Sadako  became  jealous  of  Fujiwaka,  knowing  him,  as 
the  elder  son,  to  be  the  heir  to  Kammotsu's  property. 
She  tried  by  every  means  to  put  her  own  son  Goroh  first. 

In  the  meantime  a  little  romance  was  secretly  going 
on  between  a  beautiful  girl  called  Tae,  daughter  of  Iwasa 
Shiro,  and  young  Fujiwaka.  They  had  fallen  in  love 
with  each  other,  were  holding  secret  meetings  to  their 
hearts'  content,  and  vowing  promises  of  marriage.  At 
last  they  were  found  out,  and  Sadako  made  their  conduct 
a  pretext  for  driving  Fujiwaka  out  of  the  house  and 
depriving  him  of  all  rights  in  the  family  property. 

Attached  to  the  establishment  was  a  faithful  old  nurse, 
Matsue,  who  had  brought  up  Fujiwaka  from  his  infancy. 
She  was  grieved  at  the  injustice  which  had  been  done  ; 
but  little  did  she  think  of  the  loss  of  money  or  of  property 
in  comparison  with  the  loss  of  the  sword,  the  miraculous 
sword,  of  which  the  outcast  son  was  the  proper  owner. 
She  thought  night  and  day  of  how  she  might  get  the 
heirloom  for  young  Fujiwaka. 

After  many  days  she  came  to  the  conclusion  that  she 
must  steal  the  sword  from  the  Ihai  (shrine — or  rather 
a  wooden  tablet  in  the  interior  of  the  shrine,  bearing  the 
posthumous  name  of  an  ancestor,  which  represents  the 
spirit  of  that  ancestor). 

One  day,  when  her  mistress  and  the  others  were  absent, 
Matsue  stole  the  sword.  No  sooner  had  she  done  so  than 
it  became  apparent  that  it  would  be  some  months  perhaps 
before  she  should  be  able  to  put  it  into  the  hands  of  the 
rightful  owner.  For  of  Fujiwaka  nothing  had  been  heard 


The  Precious  Sword  c  Natori  No  Hoto ' 

since  his  stepmother  had  driven  him  out.  Fearing  that 
she  might  be  accused,  the  faithful  Matsue  dug  a  hole  in 
the  garden  near  the  ayumiya — a  little  house,  such  as  is 
kept  in  every  Japanese  gentleman's  garden  for  performing 
the  Tea  Ceremony  in, — and  there  she  put  the  sword,  mean- 
ing to  keep  it  hidden  until  such  time  as  she  should  be  able 
to  present  it  to  Fujiwaka. 

Sadako,  having  occasion  to  go  to  the  butsudan  the  day 
after,  missed  the  sword  ;  and,  knowing  O  Matsue  to  have 
been  the  only  servant  left  in  the  house  at  the  time,  taxed 
her  with  the  theft  of  the  sword. 

Matsue  denied  the  theft,  thinking  that  in  the  cause  of 
justice  it  was  right  of  her  to  do  so  ;  but  it  was  not  easy  to 
persuade  Sadako,  who  had  Matsue  confined  in  an  out- 
house and  gave  orders  that  neither  rice  nor  water  was  to 
be  given  her  until  she  confessed.  No  one  was  allowed  to 
go  near  Matsue  except  Sadako  herself,  who  kept  the  key 
of  the  shed,  which  she  visited  only  once  every  four  or  five 

About  the  tenth  day  poor  Matsue  died  from  starvation. 
She  had  stuck  faithfully  to  her  resolution  that  she  would 
keep  the  sword  and  deliver  it  some  day  to  her  young 
master,  the  lawful  heir.  No  one  knew  of  Matsue's  death. 
The  evening  on  which  she  had  died  found  Sadako  seated 
in  an  old  shed  in  a  remote  part  of  the  garden,  and  trying 
to  cool  herself,  for  it  was  very  hot. 

After  she  had  sat  for  about  half-an-hour  she  suddenly 
saw  the  figure  of  an  emaciated  woman  with  dishevelled 
hair.  The  figure  appeared  from  behind  a  stone  lantern, 
glided  along  towards  the  place  where  Sadako  was  seated, 
and  looked  full  into  Sadako's  face. 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

Sadako  immediately  recognised  Matsue,  and  upbraided 
her  loudly  for  breaking  out  of  her  prison. 

'  Go  back,  you  thieving  woman  ! '  said  she.  '  I  have 
not  half  finished  with  you  yet.  How  dare  you  leave  the 
place  where  you  were  locked  up  and  come  to  confront  me? ' 

The  figure  gave  no  answer,  but  glided  slowly  along 
to  the  spot  where  the  sword  had  been  buried,  and  dug 
it  up. 

Sadako  watched  carefully,  and,  being  no  coward,  rushed 
at  the  figure  of  Matsue,  intending  to  seize  the  sword. 
Figure  and  sword  suddenly  disappeared. 

Sadako  then  ran  at  top  speed  to  the  shed  where  Matsue 
had  been  imprisoned,  and  flung  the  door  open  with 
violence.  Before  her  lay  Matsue  dead,  evidently  having 
been  so  for  two  or  three  days  ;  her  body  was  thin  and 

Sadako  perceived  that  it  must  have  been  the  ghost  of 
O  Matsue  that  she  had  seen,  and  mumbled  *  Namu  Amida 
Butsu  ;  Namu  Amida  Butsu,'  the  Buddhist  prayer  asking 
for  protection  or  mercy. 

After  having  been  driven  from  his  family  home,  Ide 
Fujiwaka  had  wandered  to  many  places,  begging  his  food. 
At  last  he  got  some  small  employment,  and  was  able  to 
support  himself  at  a  very  cheap  inn  at  Umamachi  Asakusa 

One  midnight  he  awoke  and  found  standing  at  the  foot 
of  his  bed  the  emaciated  figure  of  his  old  nurse,  bearing  in 
her  hands  the  precious  sword,  the  heirloom  valued  beyond 
all  others.  It  was  wrapped  in  scarlet  and  gold  brocade, 
as  it  had  been  before,  and  it  was  laid  reverentially  by  the 
figure  of  O  Matsue  at  Fujiwaka's  feet. 


The  Precious  Sword  c  Natori  No  Hoto ' 

'  Oh,    my    dear    nurse/    said    he,  '  how   glad    am    I 
Before  he  had  closed  his  sentence  the  figure  had 


My  story-teller  did  not  say  what  became  of  Sadako 
or  of  her  son. 



HARADA  KURANDO  was  one  of  the  leading  vassals  of  the 
Lord  of  Tsugaru.  He  was  a  remarkable  swordsman,  and 
gave  lessons  in  fencing.  Next  in  seniority  to  Harada 
among  the  vassals  was  one  Gundayu,  who  also  taught 
fencing  ;  but  he  was  no  match  for  the  famous  Harada, 
and  consequently  was  somewhat  jealous. 

One  day,  to  encourage  the  art  of  fencing  amongst  his 
vassals,  the  Daimio  summoned  all  his  people  and  ordered 
them  to  give  an  exhibition  in  his  presence. 

After  the  younger  vassals  had  performed,  the  Daimio 
gave  an  order  that  Harada  Kurando  and  Hira  Gundayu 
should  have  a  match.  To  the  winner,  he  said,  he  would 
present  a  gold  image  of  the  Goddess  of  Kwannon. 

Both  men  fenced  their  best.  There  was  great  excite- 
ment. Gundayu  had  never  done  so  well  before  ;  but 
Harada  was  too  good.  He  won  the  match,  receiving 
the  gold  image  of  Kwannon  from  the  hands  of  the 
Daimio  amid  loud  cheering. 

Gundayu  left  the  scene  of  the  encounter,  boiling  over 
with  jealousy  and  vowing  vengeance.  Four  of  his  most 



The  White  Serpent  God 

faithful  companions  left  with  him,  and  said  they  would 
help  him  to  waylay  and  assault  Harada  that  very  evening. 
Having  arranged  this  cowardly  plan,  they  proceeded  to 
hide  on  the  road  which  Harada  must  traverse  on  his 
return  home. 

For  three  hours  they  lay  there  with  evil  intentions. 
At  last  in  the  moonlight  they  saw  Harada  come  stagger- 
ing along,  for,  as  was  natural  on  such  an  occasion,  he 
had,  with  friends,  been  indulging  in  sake  freely. 

Gundayu  and  his  four  companions  sprang  out  at  him, 
Gundayu  shouting,  '  Now  you  will  have  to  fight  me  to 
the  death.' 

Harada  tried  to  draw  his  sword,  but  was  slow,  his 
head  whirling.  Gundayu  did  not  wait,  but  cut  him 
to  the  ground,  killing  him.  The  five  villains  then  hunted 
through  his  clothes,  found  the  golden  image  of  Kwannon, 
and  ran  off",  never  again  to  appear  on  the  domains  of  the 
Lord  of  Tsugaru. 

When  the  body  of  Harada  was  found  there  was  great 

Yonosuke,  Harada's  son,  a  boy  of  sixteen,  vowed  to 
avenge  his  father's  death,  and  obtained  from  the  Daimio 
special  permission  to  kill  Gundayu  as  and  when  he 
chose  ;  the  disappearance  of  Gundayu  was  sufficient 
evidence  that  he  had  been  the  murderer. 

Yonosuke  set  out  that  day  on  his  hunt  for  Gundayu. 
He  wandered  about  the  country  for  five  long  years  with- 
out getting  the  slightest  clue  ;  but  at  the  end  of  that 
time,  by  the  guidance  of  Buddha,  he  located  his  enemy 
at  Gifu,  where  he  was  acting  as  fencing-master  to  the 
feudal  lord  of  that  place. 

337  43 

Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

Yonosuke  found  that  it  would  be  difficult  to  get  at 
Gundayu  in  an  ordinary  way,  for  he  hardly  ever  left  the 
castle.  He  decided,  therefore,  to  change  his  name  to 
that  of  Ippai,  and  to  apply  for  a  place  in  Gundayu's  house 
as  a  chugen  (a  samurai's  private  attendant). 

In  this  Ippai  (as  we  shall  now  call  him)  was  particu- 
larly lucky,  for,  as  Gundayu  was  in  want  of  such  an 
attendant,  he  got  the  place. 

On  the  24th  of  June  a  great  celebration  was  held  at 
the  house  of  Gundayu,  it  being  the  fifth  anniversary  of 
his  service  to  the  clan.  He  put  his  stolen  golden  image 
of  Kwannon  on  the  tokonoma  (the  part  of  a  Japanese 
room,  raised  five  inches  above  the  floor,  where  pictures 
and  flowers  are  placed),  and  a  dinner,  with  sake,  was  set 
before  it.  A  dinner  was  given  by  Gundayu  to  his  friends, 
all  of  whom  drank  so  deeply  that  they  fell  asleep. 

Next  day  the  image  of  Kwannon  had  disappeared. 
It  was  not  to  be  found.  A  few  days  later  Ippai  became 
ill,  and,  owing  to  poverty,  was  unable  to  buy  proper 
medicine ;  he  went  from  bad  to  worse.  His  fellow- 
servants  were  kind  to  him  ;  but  they  could  do  nothing 
that  improved  his  condition.  Ippai  did  not  seem  to  care  ; 
he  lay  in  his  bed  and  seemed  almost  pleased  to  be  getting 
weaker  and  weaker.  All  he  asked  was  that  a  branch 
of  his  favourite  omoto  (rhodea  japonica)  should  be  kept 
in  a  vase  before  his  bed,  so  that  he  might  see  it  continu- 
ally ;  and  this  simple  request  was  naturally  complied  with. 

In  the  autumn  Ippai  passed  quietly  away  and  was 
buried.  After  the  funeral,  when  the  servants  were  clean- 
ing out  the  room  in  which  he  had  died,  it  was  noticed 
with  astonishment  that  a  small  white  snake  was  curled 


The  White  Serpent  God 

round  the  vase  containing  the  omoto.  They  tried  to 
remove  it ;  but  it  coiled  itself  tighter.  At  last  they 
threw  the  vase  into  the  pond,  not  caring  to  have  such  a 
thing  about  them. 

To  their  astonishment,  the  water  had  no  effect  on  the 
snake,  which  continued  to  cling  to  the  vase.  Feeling 
that  there  was  something  uncanny  about  the  snake,  they 
wanted  to  get  it  farther  away.  So  they  cast  a  net, 
brought  the  vase  and  snake  to  shore  again,  and  threw 
them  into  a  stream.  Even  that  made  but  little  difference, 
the  snake  slightly  changing  its  position  so  as  to  keep  the 
branch  of  omoto  from  falling  out  of  the  vase. 

By  this  time  there  was  consternation  among  the 
servants,  and  the  news  spread  to  the  different  houses 
within  the  castle  gates.  Some  samurai  came  down  to  the 
stream  to  see,  and  found  the  white  snake  still  firmly 
coiled  about  the  vase  and  branch.  One  of  the  samurai 
drew  his  sword  and  made  a  slash  at  the  snake,  which  let  go 
and  escaped  ;  but  the  vase  was  broken,  and,  to  the  alarm 
of  all,  the  image  of  the  Kwannon  fell  out  into  the  stream, 
together  with  a  stamped  permit  from  the  Feudal  Lord  of 
Tsugaru  to  kill  a  certain  man,  whose  name  was  left  blank. 

The  samurai  who  had  broken  the  vase  and  found  the 
lost  treasure  seemed  particularly  pleased,  and  hastened 
to  tell  Gundayu  the  good  news  ;  but,  instead  of  being 
pleased,  that  person  showed  signs  of  fear.  He  became 
deadly  pale  when  he  heard  the  story  of  the  death  of  Ippai 
and  of  the  extraordinary  appearance  of  the  mysterious 
white  snake.  He  trembled.  He  realised  that  Ippai  was 
no  less  a  person  than  Yonosuke,  son  of  Harada,  whose 
appearance  after  the  murder  he  had  always  feared. 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

True  to  the  spirit  of  a  samurai,  however,  Gundayu 
*  pulled  himself  together,'  and  professed  great  pleasure 
to  the  person  who  had  brought  the  image  of  Kwannon. 
Moreover,  to  celebrate  the  occasion,  he  gave  a  great  feast 
that  evening.  Curiously  enough,  the  samurai  who  had 
broken  the  vase  and  recovered  the  image  became  suddenly 
ill,  and  was  unable  to  attend. 

After  he  had  dismissed  his  guests,  at  about  10  P.M., 
Gundayu  retired  to  his  bed.  In  the  middle  of  the  night 
he  awoke  with  what  he  took  to  be  a  terrible  nightmare. 
There  was  a  choking  sensation  at  his  throat  ;  he  squirmed 
and  twisted  ;  gurgling  noises  proceeded  from  his  mouth 
to  such  an  extent  that  he  aroused  his  wife,  who  in  terror 
struck  a  light.  She  saw  a  white  snake  coiled  tightly 
round  her  husband's  throat ;  his  face  was  purple,  and 
his  eyeballs  stood  out  two  inches  from  his  face. 

She  called  for  help  ;  but  it  was  too  late.  As  the  young 
samurai  came  rushing  in,  their  fencing-master  was  black 
in  the  face  and  dead. 

Next  day  there  was  a  close  investigation.  -  Messengers 
were  despatched  to  the  Lord  of  Tsugaru  to  inquire  as  to 
the  history  of  the  murdered  Harada  Kurando,  father  of 
Yonosuke,  or  '  Ippai,'  and  as  to  that  of  Gundayu,  who 
had  been  in  his  employ  for  five  years.  Having  ascertained 
the  truth,  the  Lord  of  Gifu,  moved  by  the  zeal  of 
Yonosuke  in  discharging  his  filial  duties,  returned  the 
golden  image  of  Kwannon  to  the  bereaved  family  of 
Harada ;  and  in  commemoration  he  worshipped  the  dead 
snake  at  a  shrine  erected  at  the  foot  of  Kodayama 
Mountain.  The  spirit  is  still  known  as  Hakuja  no 
Myojin,  The  White  Serpent  God. 



MANAZURU-MINATO  is  situated  on  a  small  promontory 
of  the  same  name.  It  faces  the  Sagama  Bay,  famed  for 
beauty  ;  at  its  back  are  mountains  rising  gradually  and 
overtopped  in  the  distance  by  the  majestic  Fuji  ;  to  the 
north  on  clear  days  the  sandy  shores  of  Kozu  and  Oiso, 
twenty-five  miles  off",  seem  to  be  almost  within  arm's  reach. 
Some  people  have  compared  the  beauties  of  Manazuru-zaki 
from  cape  to  river  with  the  place  in  China  called 
'  Sekiheki '  by  the  celebrated  poet  of  that  country,  Sotoba, 
who  wrote  *  Sekiheki  no  Fu,'  the  Ode  to  Sekiheki. 

Many  years  ago  Minamoto-no-Yoritomo,  after  his 
defeat  at  the  battle  of  Ishibashiyama,  fled  to  Manazuru- 
minato,  and  stayed  there  for  a  few  days  while  waiting  for 
favourable  weather  to  cross  to  the  opposite  side,  the 
province  of  Awa.  One  can  still  see,  I  am  told,  the  cave 
in  which  he  hid,  which  retains  its  old  name,  '  Shitoto-iwa.' 
The  scenery  on  the  coast  is  magnificent.  The  rocks  rise 
sheer  out  of  the  sea  and  enclose  a  perfect  little  bay  on  the 
inside  of  Manazuru  Zaki  (Cape).  There  the  fishermen 
erected  a  quiet  little  shrine,  *  Kibune  Jinja,'  where  they 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

worshipped  the  goddess  who  guards  the  fishing  of  their 
coast.  They  had  but  little  to  complain  of  in  the  Bay  of 
Manazuru.  The  waters  were  deep,  and  always  well- 
stocked  with  fish  such  as  tai ;  in  due  season  came  the  sawara 
(giant  mackerel)  and  all  the  smaller  migratory  fishes, 
including  the  sardine  and  the  anchovy.  The  fishermen 
had  naught  to  complain  of  until  about  forty  years  ago, 
when  a  strange  thing  happened. 

On  the  24th  of  June,  a  person  from  some  inland  place 
arrived  for  a  few  days'  sea-bathing.  He  was  no  swimmer, 
and  he  was  drowned  the  first  day.  His  body  was  never 
recovered,  though  the  fishermen  did  all  they  could  to  find  it. 
From  this  event  onwards  for  a  full  two  years  the  abundance 
of  fish  in  the  bay  grew  less  and  less,  until  it  became 
difficult  to  catch  enough  to  eat.  The  situation  was  serious 
in  the  extreme. 

Some  of  the  elder  fishermen  attributed  the  change  to 
the  stranger  who  had  been  drowned. 

'  It  is  his  unrecovered  body/  they  said,  '  that  has 
made  our  sacred  waters  change.  The  unclean  ness  has 
offended  Gu  gun  O  Hime,  our  goddess.  It  will  never  do 
to  go  on  as  we  are.  We  must  hold  a  special  festival  at 
the  temple  of  Kibune  Jinja.' 

Accordingly,  the  head  priest,  Iwata,  was  approached.  He 
was  pleased  with  the  idea,  and  a  certain  day  was  fixed  upon. 

On  the  appointed  evening  hundreds  of  fishermen 
gathered  together  with  torches  in  one  hand  and  Shirayu 
or  Gohei 1  papers  fastened  on  a  bamboo  in  the  other. 

1  Gohei  papers  are  a  Shinto  emblem,  representing  gifts  of  cloth  to  the  deity,  usually  the 
god  Kami.  Some  say  Gohei  represent,  in  their  curious  cutting,  the  Kami  beating  dora, 
a  gong  used  in  worship. 



A  Festival  of  the  Awabi  Fish 

They  formed  into  procession  and  advanced  towards  the 
shrine  from  various  directions,  beating  gongs.  At  the 
temple  the  priest  read  from  the  sacred  books,  and  prayed 
to  the  goddess  that  had  watched  over  them  and  their 
fisheries  not  to  desert  them  because  their  waters  had  been 
polluted  by  a  dead  body.  They  would  search  for  it  by 
every  means  in  their  power  and  cleanse  the  bay. 

Suddenly,  while  the  priest  was  praying,  a  light,  the 
brilliance  of  which  nearly  blinded  the  fishermen,  flashed 
out  of  the  water.  The  priest  stopped  for  a  moment ;  a 
rumbling  noise  was  heard  at  the  bottom  of  the  sea  ;  and 
then  there  arose  to  the  surface  a  goddess  of  surpassing 
beauty  (probably  Kwannon  Gioran).  She  looked  at  the 
ceremony  which  was  being  held  on  shore  for  a  full  hour, 
and  then  disappeared  with  another  flash,  leaving  the  sound 
of  roaring  waves. 

The  priest  and  the  elder  fishermen  considered  matters, 
and  came  to  the  conclusion  that  what  they  had  seen  was 
indeed  their  goddess,  and  that  she  had  been  pleased  at 
their  ceremony.  Also,  they  thought  the  dead  body  must 
still  be  at  the  bottom  of  the  bay,  directly  under  the 
spot  whence  the  flashes  of  light  and  the  goddess  herself 
had  appeared.  It  was  arranged  that  two  young  virgins 
who  could  dive  should  be  sent  down  at  the  spot  to  see, 
and  two  were  accordingly  chosen — Sao  tome  and  Tamajo. 
Wrapped  in  white  skirts,  these  maidens  were  taken  in  a 
boat  to  where  the  flashes  and  the  goddess  had  appeared. 
The  girls  dived,  reached  the  bottom,  and  searched  for  the 
body  of  the  man  drowned  two  years  before.  Instead  of 
finding  it,  they  saw  only  a  small  but  dazzling  light. 
Curiosity  led  them  to  the  spot,  and  there  they  found 


Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

hundreds  upon  hundreds  of  awabi  (ear- shells)  fastened 
upon  a  rock  six  feet  in  height  and  twenty-five  or  thirty  in 
length.  Whenever  the  fish  moved  they  were  obliged  to 
raise  their  shells,  and  it  was  the  glitter  of  the  pearls  inside 
that  had  attracted  the  damsels.  This  rock  must  have 
been  the  tomb  of  the  drowned,  or  else  the  home  of  the 

Sao  tome  and  Tamajo  returned  to  the  surface,  each 
having  taken  from  the  rock  a  large  shell  to  show  the 
priest.  As  they  came  to  the  shore  cheers  were  given  in 
their  honour,  and  the  priest  and  the  fishermen  crowded 
round  them. 

On  learning  about  the  awabi  shells,  which  they  had 
never  before  heard  of  as  being  in  the  bay,  they  came  to 
the  conclusion  that  it  was  not  uncleanness  that  kept  the 
fish  away.  The  lights  thrown  from  the  brilliant  nacreous 
shells,  and  pearls  inside  them,  must  be  the  cause.  Many 
times  have  we  heard  of  the  awabi  flying.  They  must 
have  flown  here  at  some  time  within  two  years.  The 
fishermen  resolved  to  remove  them.  It  was  evident  that 
the  goddess  had  appeared  in  the  light  so  as  to  show  what 
it  was  that  kept  the  fish  away. 

No  time  was  lost.  Many  hundreds  of  men  and  women 
went  down  and  cleared  the  place  ;  and  the  fish  began  to 
return  to  Manazuru-minato. 

At  the  suggestion  of  the  priest,  Iwata,  there  is  held  on 
every  24th  of  June  a  matsuri  (festival).  The  fishermen 
light  torches  and  go  to  the  shrine  for  worship  all  the 
night  through.  This  is  called  the  *  Awabi  Festival '  of 


A   Festival  of  the  Awabi  Fish 

NOTE. — The  story  was  told  to  me  by  a  man  who  knows 
nothing  of  shell-fish.  He  told  the  story  as  of  the  osari,  a  kind 
of  cockle-shell  dug  out  of  the  sand  at  low  tide.  It  is  impossible 
that  this  story  could  have  referred  to  other  shell-fish  than  haliotis 
(the  ear-shell),  or  the  awabi,  or  the  regular  pearl  oyster. 

Diving  women  have  seen  the  c  flight '  of  haliotis  and  described 
it  to  me.  If  one  feels  disposed  to  leave  a  rock,  they  all  feel  the 
same  impulse  and  go.  Thus  it  is  that  large  old  haliotis  sometimes 
appear  on  a  rock  some  fifteen  fathoms  deep  when  not  one  was 
there  the  day  before  ;  and  they  go  with  equal  quickness.  For  a 
thousand  years  or  more  the  same  rocks  have  been  haunted.  And 
divers  keep  their  finds  at  the  bottom  of  the  sea  a  great  secret — at 
least,  so  I  observe  at  Toshi. 

345  44 



LONG  ago  there  lived  in  Yamada  village,  Sarashina  Gun, 
Shinano  Province,  one  of  the  richest  men  in  the  northern 
part  of  Japan.  For  many  generations  the  family  had 
been  rich,  and  at  last  the  fortune  descended  in  the  eighty- 
third  generation  to  Gobei  Yuasa.  The  family  had  no 
title  ;  but  the  people  treated  them  almost  with  the  respect 
due  to  a  princely  house.  Even  the  boys  in  the  street, 
who  are  not  given  to  bestowing  either  compliments  or 
titles  of  respect,  bowed  ceremoniously  when  they  met 
Gobei  Yuasa.  Gobei  was  the  soul  of  good -nature, 
sympathetic  to  all  in  trouble. 

The  riches  which  Gobei  had  inherited  were  mainly 
money  and  land,  about  which  he  worried  himself  very 
little  ;  it  would  have  been  difficult  to  find  a  man  who 
knew  less  and  cared  less  about  his  affairs  than  Gobei.  He 
spent  his  money  freely,  and  when  he  came  to  think  of 
accounts  his  easy  nature  let  them  all  slide.  His  great 
pleasures  were  painting  kakemono  pictures,  talking  to  his 
friends,  and  eating  good  things.  He  ordered  his  steward 



A  Willow  Tree  and  Family  Honour 

not  to  worry  him  with'  unsatisfactory  accounts  of  crops  or 
any  other  disagreeable  subjects.  'The  destiny  of  man 
and  his  fate  is  arranged  in  Heaven/  said  he.  Gobei  was 
quite  celebrated  as  a  painter,  and  could  have  made  a  con- 
siderable amount  of  money  by  selling  his  kakemonos  ; 
but  no — that  would  not  be  doing  credit  to  his  ancestors 
and  his  name. 

One  day,  while  things  were  going  from  bad  to  worse, 
and  Gobei  was  seated  in  his  room  painting,  a  friend  came 
to  gossip.  He  told  Gobei  that  the  village  people  were 
beginning  to  talk  seriously  about  a  spirit  that  had  been 
seen  by  no  fewer  than  three  of  them.  At  first  they 
had  laughed  at  the  man  who  saw  the  ghost ;  the  second 
man  who  saw  it  they  were  inclined  not  to  take  quite 
seriously  ;  but  now  it  had  been  seen  by  one  of  the  village 
elders,  and  so  there  could  be  no  doubt  about  it. 

'  Where  do  they  see  it  ? '  asked  Gobei. 

4  They  say  that  it  appears  under  your  old  willow  tree 
between  eleven  and  twelve  o'clock  at  night — the  tree 
that  hangs  some  of  its  boughs  out  of  your  garden  into 
the  street/ 

'That  is  odd,'  remarked  Gobei.  'I  can  remember 
hearing  of  no  murder  under  that  tree,  nor  even  spirit 
connection  with  any  of  my  ancestors  ;  but  there  must  be 
something  if  three  of  our  villagers  have  seen  it.  Yet, 
again,  where  there  is  an  old  willow  tree  some  one  is  sure 
to  say,  sooner  or  later,  that  he  has  seen  a  ghost.  If  there 
is  a  spirit  there,  I  wonder  whose  it  is  ?  I  should  like  to 
paint  the  ghost  if  I  could  see  it,  so  as  to  leave  it  to  my 
descendants  as  the  last  ominous  sign  on  the  road  which 
has  led  to  the  family's  ruin.  That  I  shall  make  an  effort 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

to  do.  This  very  evening  I  will  sit  up  to  watch  for  the 

Never  had  Gobei  been  seized  with  such  energy  before. 
He  dismissed  his  friend,  and  went  to  bed  at  four  o'clock  in 
the  afternoon,  so  as  to  allow  himself  to  be  up  at  ten 
o'clock.  At  that  hour  his  servant  awoke  him  ;  but  even 
then  he  could  not  be  got  up  before  eleven.  By  twelve 
o'clock,  midnight,  Gobei  was  at  last  out  in  his  garden, 
hidden  in  bushes  facing  the  willow.  It  was  a  bright 
night,  and  there  was  no  sign  of  any  ghost  until  after  one 
o'clock,  when  clouds  passed  over  the  moon.  Just  when 
Gobei  was  thinking  of  going  back  to  bed,  he  beheld, 
arising  from  the  ground  under  the  willow,  a  thin  column 
of  white  smoke,  which  gradually  assumed  the  form  of 
a  charming  girl. 

Gobei  stared  in  astonishment  and  admiration.  He 
had  never  thought  that  a  ghost  could  be  such  a  vision  of 
beauty.  Rather  had  he  expected  to  see  a  white,  wild- 
eyed,  dishevelled  old  woman  with  protruding  bones,  the 
spectacle  of  whom  would  freeze  his  marrow  and  make  his 
teeth  clatter. 

Gradually  the  beautiful  figure  approached  Gobei,  and 
hung  its  head,  as  if  it  wished  to  address  him. 

*  Who  and  what  are  you  ? '  cried  Gobei.  '  You  seem 
too  beautiful,  to  my  mind,  to  be  the  spirit  of  one  who  is 
dead.  If  you  are  indeed  spectral,  do  tell  me,  if  you  may, 
whose  spirit  you  are  and  why  you  appear  under  this 
willow  tree ! ' 

6 1  am  not  the  spirit  or  ghost  of  man,  as  you  say,' 
answered  the  spirit,  '  but  the  spirit  of  this  willow  tree.' 

'  Then  why  do  you  leave  the  tree  now,  as  they  tell 


A  Willow  Tree  and  Family  Honour 

me  you  have  done  several  times  within  the  last  ten 
days  ? ' 

c  I  am,  as  I  say,  the  spirit  of  this  willow,  which  was 
planted  here  in  the  twenty-first  generation  of  your  family. 
That  is  now  about  six  centuries  ago.  I  was  planted  to 
mark  the  place  where  your  wise  ancestor  buried  a  treasure 
— twenty  feet  below  the  ground,  and  fifteen  from  my  stem, 
facing  east.  There  is  a  vast  sum  of  gold  in  a  strong  iron 
chest  hidden  there.  The  money  was  buried  to  save  your 
house  when  it  was  about  to  fall.  Never  hitherto  has 
there  been  danger  ;  but  now,  in  your  time,  ruin  has  come, 
and  it  is  for  me  to  step  forth  and  tell  you  how  by  the 
foresight  of  your  ancestor  you  have  been  saved  from  dis- 
gracing the  family  name  by  bankruptcy.  Pray  dig  the 
strong  box  up  and  save  the  name  of  your  house.  Begin 
as  soon  as  you  can,  and  be  careful  in  future/ 

Then  she  vanished. 

Gobei  returned  to  his  house,  scarcely  believing  it 
possible  that  such  good  luck  had  come  to  him  as  the  spirit 
of  the  willow  tree  planted  by  his  wise  ancestor  had  said. 
He  did  not  go  to  bed,  however.  He  summoned  a  few  of 
his  most  faithful  servants,  and  at  daybreak  began  digging. 
What  excitement  there  was  when  at  nineteen  feet  they 
struck  the  top  of  an  iron  chest !  Gobei  jumped  with 
delight  ;  and  it  may  almost  be  said  that  his  servants  did 
the  same,  for  to  see  their  honoured  master's  name  fall  into 
the  disgrace  of  bankruptcy  would  have  caused  many  of 
them  to  disembowel  themselves. 

They  tore  and  dug  with  all  their  might,  until  they 
had  the  huge  and  weighty  case  out  of  the  hole.  They 
broke  off  the  top  with  pickaxes,  and  then  Gobei  saw  a 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

collection  of  old  sacks.  He  seized  one  of  these  ;  but  the 
age  of  it  was  too  great.  It  burst,  and  sent  rolling  out  over 
a  hundred  immense  old-fashioned  oblong  gold  coins  of 
ancient  times,  which  must  have  been  worth  £30  each. 
Gobei  Yuasa's  hand  shook.  He  could  hardly  realise  as 
true  the  good  fortune  which  had  come  to  him.  Bag  after 
bag  was  pulled  out,  each  containing  a  small  fortune,  until 
finally  the  bottom  of  the  box  was  reached.  Here  was 
found  a  letter  some  six  hundred  years  of  age,  saying  : 

'  He  of  my  descendants  who  is  obliged  to  make  use  of 
the  treasure  to  save  our  family  reputation  will  read  aloud 
and  make  known  that  this  treasure  has  been  buried  by  me, 
Fuji  Yuasa,  in  the  twenty-first  generation  of  our  family, 
so  that  in  time  of  need  or  danger  a  future  generation  will 
be  able  to  fall  back  upon  it  and  save  the  family  name.  He 
whose  great  misfortune  necessitates  the  use  of  the  treasure 
must  say :  "  Greatly  do  I  repent  the  folly  that  has 
brought  the  affairs  of  our  family  so  low,  and  necessitated 
the  assistance  of  an  early  ancestor.  I  can  only  repay  such 
by  diligent  attention  to  my  household  affairs,  and  also 
show  high  appreciation  and  give  kindness  to  the  willow 
tree  which  has  so  long  been  watching  and  guarding  my 
ancestor's  treasure.  These  things  I  vow  to  do.  I  shall 
reform  entirely." 

Gobei  Yuasa  read  this  out  to  his  servants  and  to  his 
friends.  He  became  a  man  of  energy.  His  lands  and 
farms  were  properly  taken  care  of,  and  the  Yuasa  family 
regained  its  influential  position. 

Gobei  painted  a  kakemono  of  the  spirit  of  the  willow 
tree  as  he  had  seen  her,  and  this  he  kept  in  his  own  room 
during  the  rest  of  his  life.  It  is  the  famous  painting,  in 


A  Willow  Tree  and  Family  Honour 

the  Yuasa  Gardens  to-day,  which  is  called  '  The  Willow 
Ghost,1  and  perhaps  it  is  the  model  from  which  most  of 
the  willow-tree-ghost  paintings  have  sprung. 

Gobei  fenced  in  the  famous  willow  tree,  and  attended 
to  it  himself ;  as  did  those  who  followed  him. 



FIVE  ri  (ten  miles)  from  Shirakawa,  in  the  province  of 
Iwaki,  there  is  a  village  called  Yabuki-mura.  Close  by  is 
a  grove  some  400  feet  square.  The  trees  used  to  include 
a  monster  camphor  nearly  150  feet  in  height,  of  untold 
age,  and  venerated  by  villagers  and  strangers  alike  as 
one  of  the  greatest  trees  in  Japan.  A  shrine  was  erected 
to  it  in  the  grove,  which  was  known  as  the  Nekoma-myojin 
forest ;  and  a  faithful  old  man,  Hamada  Tsushima,  lived 
there,  caring  for  the  tree,  the  shrine,  and  the  whole  grove. 

One  day  the  tree  was  felled  ;  but,  instead  of  withering 
or  dying,  it  continued  to  grow,  and  it  is  still  flourishing, 
though  lying  on  the  ground.  Poor  Hamada  Tsushima 
disembowelled  himself  when  the  sacred  tree  had  been  cut 
down.  Perhaps  it  is  because  his  spirit  entered  the  sacred 
tree  that  the  tree  will  not  die.  Here  is  the  story  : — 

On  the  i  yth  of  January  in  the  third  and  last  year  of 
the  Meireki  period — that  is,  1658 — a  great  fire  broke  out 
in  the  Homyo-ji  Temple,  in  the  Maruyama  Hongo 
district  of  Yedo,  now  Tokio.  The  fire  spread  with  such 
rapidity  that  not  only  was  that  particular  district  burned, 


CHOGORO    AND    HIS    MEN    FAIL    TO    MOVE    THE 

The  Camphor  Tree  Tomb 

but  also  a  full  eighth  of  Yedo  itself  was  destroyed.  Many 
of  the  Daimios'  houses  and  palaces  were  consumed.  The 
Lord  Date  Tsunamune  of  Sendai,  one  of  the  three 
greatest  Daimios  (who  were  Satsuma,  Kaga,  Sendai),  had 
the  whole  of  his  seven  palaces  and  houses  destroyed  by 
the  fire  ;  the  other  Daimios  or  feudal  Jords  lost  only  one 
or  two. 

Lord  Date  Tsunamune  resolved  to  build  the  finest 
palace  that  could  be  designed.  It  was  to  be  at  Shinzenza, 
in  Shiba.  He  ordered  that  no  time  should  be  lost,  and 
directed  one  of  his  high  officials,  Harada  Kai  Naonori,  to 
see  to  the  matter. 

Harada,  accordingly,  sent  for  the  greatest  house- 
building contractor  of  the  day,  one  Kinokuniya  Bunzaemon, 
and  to  him  he  said  : 

'  You  are  aware  that  the  fire  has  destroyed  the  whole 
of  the  town  mansions  of  Lord  Date  Tsunamune.  1  am 
directed  to  see  that  the  finest  palace  should  be  immediately 
built,  second  to  none  except  the  Shogun's.  I  have  sent 
for  you  as  the  largest  contractor  in  Yedo.  What  can 
you  do  ?  Just  make  some  suggestions  and  give  me  your 

*  Certainly,  my  Lord,  I  can  make  plenty  of  suggestions  ; 
but  to  build  such  a  palace  will  cost  an  enormous  amount 
of  money,  especially  now  after  this  fire,  for  there  is  a  great 
scarcity  of  large  timber  in  the  land.' 

*  Never  mind  expenses/  said  Harada.     '  Those  I  shall 
pay  as  you  like  and  when  you  like  ;    I  will  even  advance 
money  if  you  want  it.' 

*  Oh,  then/  answered  the  delighted  contractor,  <  I  will 
start  immediately.     What  would  you  think  of  having  a 

353  45 

Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

palace  like  that  of  Kiftkakuji  in  Kyoto,  which  was  built  by 
the  Shogun  Ashikaga  ?  What  I  should  build  would  be  a 
finer  mansion  than  that  of  the  present  Shogun — let  alone 
those  of  any  Daimio.  The  whole  of  the  hagi1  to  be 
made  out  of  the  rarest  woods  ;  the  tokobashira 2  to  be 
of  the  nanten,  and  ceilings  of  unjointed  camphor -tree 
boards,  should  we  be  able  to  find  a  tree  of  sufficient  size. 
I  can  find  nearly  everything,  except  the  last,  in  my  own 
stocks  ;  the  camphor  trees  are  difficult.  There  are  but 
few  ;  they  are  mostly  sacred,  and  dangerous  to  interfere 
with  or  obtain.  I  know  of  one  in  the  forest  of  Neko- 
ma-myojin,  in  Iwaki  Province.  If  I  can  get  that  tree,  I 
should  indeed  be  able  to  make  an  unjointed  ceiling,  and 
that  would  completely  put  other  palaces  and  mansions  in 
the  second  rank/ 

'  Well,  well,  I  must  leave  all  this  to  you/  said  Harada. 
*  You  know  that  no  expense  need  be  spared  so  long  as 
you  produce  speedily  what  is  required  by  Lord  Date 

The  contractor  bowed  low,  saying  that  he  should  set 
to  and  do  his  best ;  and  he  left,  no  doubt,  delighted  at  so 
open  a  contract,  which  would  enable  him  to  fill  his  pockets. 
He  set  about  making  inquiries  in  every  direction,  and 
became  convinced  that  the  only  camphor  tree  that  would 
suit  his  purpose  was  the  one  before  referred  to — owing 
chiefly  to  its  great  breadth.  Kinokuniya  knew  also  that 
the  part  of  the  district  wherein  lay  this  tree  belonged  to 
or  was  under  the  management  of  Fujieda  Geki,  now  in 
the  Honjo  district  of  Yedo  acting  as  a  Shogun's  retainer, 
well  off  (receiving  1200  koku  of  rice  a  year),  but  not 

1  Shelves.  2  Kakumono  corner-post. 


The  Camphor  Tree  Tomb 

over  scrupulous  about  money,  of  which  he  was  always 
in  need. 

Contractor  Kinokuniya  soon  learned  all  about  the 
man,  and  then  went  to  call. 

'Your  name  is  Kinokuniya  Bunzaemon,  I  believe. 
What,  may  I  ask,  do  you  wish  to  see  me  about  ? '  said 

'  Sir,'  said  the  contractor,  bowing  low,  '  it  is  as  you 
say.  My  name  is  Kinokuniya  Bunzaemon,  and  I  am  a 
wood  contractor  of  whom  perhaps  your  Lordship  has 
heard,  for  I  have  built  and  supplied  the  wood  for  many 
mansions  and  palaces.  I  come  here  craving  assistance 
in  the  way  of  permission  to  cut  trees  in  a  small  forest 
called  Nekoma-myojin,  near  the  village  called  Yabuki- 
mura,  in  the  Sendai  district/ 

The  contractor  did  not  tell  Fujieda  Geki,  the  Shogun's 
retainer  or  agent,  that  he  was  to  build  a  mansion  for  the 
Daimio  Date  Tsunamune,  and  that  the  wood  which  he 
wanted  to  cut  was  within  that  Daimio's  domains.  For  he 
knew  full  well  that  the  Lord  Date  would  never  give  him 
permission  to  cut  a  holy  tree.  It  was  an  excellent  idea 
to  take  the  Daimio's  trees  by  the  help  of  the  Shogun's 
agent,  and  charge  for  them  fully  afterwards.  So  he 
continued  : 

' 1  can  assure  you,  sir,  this  recent  fire  has  cleared  the 
whole  market  of  wood.  If  you  will  assist  me  to  get  what 
I  want  I  will  build  you  a  new  house  for  nothing,  and  by 
way  of  showing  my  appreciation  I  ask  you  to  accept 
this  small  gift  of  yen  200,  which  is  only  a  little  beginning.' 

'  You  need  not  trouble  with  these  small  details,'  said 
the  delighted  agent,  pocketing  the  money,  '  but  do  as 

355  45 A 

Ancient  Tales  and   Folklore  of  Japan 

you  wish.  I  will  send  for  the  four  local  managers  and 
head-men  of  the  district  wherein  you  wish  to  cut  the  trees, 
and  I  will  let  you  know  when  they  arrive  in  Yedo.  With 
them  you  will  be  able  to  settle  the  matter.' 

The  interview  was  over.  The  contractor  was  on  the 
high  road,  he  felt,  to  getting  the  trees  he  required,  and 
the  money-wanting  agent  was  equally  well  pleased  that  so 
slight  an  effort  on  his  part  should  have  been  the  means  of 
enriching  him  by  yen  200,  with  the  promise  of  more  and 
a  new  house. 

About  ten  days  later  four  men,  the  heads  of  villages, 
arrived  in  Yedo,  and  presented  themselves  to  Fujieda,  who 
sent  for  the  timber  contractor,  telling  the  four,  whose 
names  were  Mosuke,  Magozaemon,  Yohei,  and  Jinyemon, 
that  he  was  pleased  to  see  them  and  to  note  how  loyal 
they  had  been  in  their  attendance  on  the  Shogun,  for  that 
he,  the  Shogun,  had  had  his  palace  burned  down  in  the 
recent  fire,  and  desired  to  have  one  immediately  built, 
the  great  and  only  difficulty  being  the  timber.  '  I  am  told 
by  our  great  contractor,  to  whom  I  shall  introduce  you 
presently,  that  the  only  timber  fit  for  rebuilding  the 
Shogun's  palace  lies  in  your  district.  I  myself  know 
nothing  about  these  details,  and  I  shall  leave  you  gentle- 
men to  settle  these  matters  with  Kinokuniya,  the  con- 
tractor, so  soon  as  he  arrives.  I  have  sent  for  him.  In  the 
meantime  consider  yourselves  welcome,  and  please  accept 
of  the  meal  I  have  arranged  in  the  next  room  for  you. 
Come  along  and  let  us  enjoy  it.' 

Fujieda  led  the  four  countrymen  into  the  next  room, 
and  ate  with  them  at  the  meal,  during  which  time 
Kinokuniya  the  contractor  arrived,  and  was  promptly 


The  Camphor  Tree  Tomb 

ushered  into  their  presence.  The  meal  was  nearly  at  an 

Fujieda  introduced  the  contractor,  who  in  his  turn 
said  : 

c  Gentlemen,  we  cannot  discuss  these  matters  here  in 
the  house  of  Lord  Fujieda  the  Shogun's  agent.  Now  that 
we  know  one  another,  let  me  invite  you  to  supper  ;  at 
that  I  can  explain  to  you  exactly  what  I  want  in  the  way 
of  trees  out  of  your  district.  Of  course,  you  know  my 
family  are  subjects  of  your  feudal  lords,  and  that  we  are 
therefore  all  the  same/ 

The  four  countrymen  were  delighted  at  so  much 
hospitality.  Two  meals  in  an  evening  was  an  extraordinary 
dissipation  for  them,  and  that  in  Yedo  !  My  word,  what 
would  they  not  be  able  to  tell  their  wives  on  their  return 
to  the  villages  ? 

Kinokuniya  led  the  four  countrymen  off  to  a  restaurant 
called  Kampanaro,  in  Ryogoku,  where  he  treated  them 
with  the  greatest  hospitality.  After  the  meal  he  said  : 

'  Gentlemen,  I  hope  you  will  allow  me  to  hew  timber 
from  the  forest  in  your  village,  for  it  is  impossible  for  me 
otherwise  to  attempt  any  further  building  on  a  large 

'  Very  well,  you  may  hew/  said  Mosuke,  who  was  the 
senior  of  the  four.  'Since  the  cutting  of  the  trees  in 
Nekoma-myojin  forest  is  as  it  were  a  necessity  for  our 
lord,  they  must  be  cut ;  it  is,  in  fact,  I  take  it,  an  order 
from  our  lord  that  the  trees  shall  be  cut ;  but  I  must  re- 
mind you  that  there  is  one  tree  in  the  grove  which  cannot 
be  cut  amid  any  circumstances  whatever,  and  that  is  an 
enormous  and  sacred  camphor  tree  which  is  very  much 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

revered  in  our  district,  and  to  which  a  shrine  is  erected. 
That  tree  we  cannot  consent  to  have  cut.' 

'  Very  well/  said  the  contractor.  *  Just  write  me  a 
little  permit,  giving  me  permission  to  cut  any  trees  except 
the  big  camphor,  and  our  business  will  be  finished.7 

Kinokuniya  had  by  this  time  in  the  evening  taken  his 
measure  of  the  countrymen — so  shrewdly  as  to  know  that 
they  were  probably  unable  to  write. 

*  Certainly,'  said  Mosuke.     c  Just  you  write  out  a  little 
agreement,  Jinyemon.' 

4  No  :  I  would  rather  you  wrote  it,  Mago,'  said 

'  And  I  should  like  Yohei  to  write  it,'  said  Mago. 

*  But    I    can't   write    at   all/    said    Yohei,    turning    to 
Jinyemon  again. 

'  Well,  never  mind,  never  mind,'  said  Kinokuniya. 
'  Will  you  gentlemen  sign  the  document  if  I  write  it  ? ' 

Why,  of  course,  they  all  assented.  That  was  the  best 
way  of  all.  They  would  put  their  stamps  to  the  docu- 
ment. This  they  did,  and  after  a  lively  evening  departed 
pleased  with  themselves  generally. 

Kinokuniya,  on  the  other  hand,  went  home  fully  con- 
tented with  his  evening's  business.  Had  he  not  in  his 
pocket  the  permit  to  cut  the  trees,  and  had  he  not  written 
it  himself,  so  as  to  suit  his  own  purpose  ?  He  chuckled 
at  the  thought  of  how  neatly  he  had  managed  the 

Next  morning  Kinokuniya  sent  off  his  foreman, 
Chogoro,  accompanied  by  ten  or  a  dozen  men.  It  took 
them  three  days  to  reach  the  village  called  Yabuki-mura, 
near  the  Nekoma-myojin  grove ;  they  arrived  on  the 


The  Camphor  Tree  Tomb 

morning  of  the  fourth  day,  and  proceeded  to  erect  a 
scaffold  round  the  camphor  tree,  so  that  they  might  the 
better  use  their  axes.  As  they  began  chopping  off  the 
lower  branches,  Hamada  Tsushima,  the  keeper  of  the 
shrine,  came  running  to  them. 

'  Here,  here  !  What  are  you  doing  ?  Cutting  down 
the  sacred  camphor  ?  Curse  you  !  Stop,  I  tell  you  !  Do 
you  hear  me  ?  Stop  at  once  ! ' 

Chogoro  answered  : 

'  You  need  not  stop  my  men  in  their  work.  They  are 
doing  what  they  have  been  ordered  to  do,  and  with  a  full 
right  to  do  it.  I  am  cutting  down  the  tree  at  the  order 
of  my  master  Kinokuniya,  the  timber  contractor,  who  has 
permission  to  cut  the  tree  irom  the  four  head-men  sent  to 
Yedo  from  this  district.' 

c  I  know  all  that,'  said  the  caretaker  ;  '  but  your  permis- 
sion is  to  cut  down  any  tree  except  the  sacred  camphor.' 

1  There  you  are  wrong,  as  this  letter  will  show  you,' 
said  Chogoro  ;  '  read  it  yourself.'  And  the  caretaker,  in 
great  dismay,  read  as  follows  : — 

To  Kinokuniya  Bunzaemon, 

Timber  Contractor,  Yedo. 

In  hewing  trees  to  build  a  new  mansion  for  our  lord,  all  the 
camphor  trees  must  be  spared  except  the  large  one  said  to  be 
sacred  in  the  Nekoma-myojin  grove.  In  witness  whereof  we  set 
our  names. 


Representing  the  local  County  Officials. 

The  caretaker,  beside  himself  with  grief  and  astonish- 
ment, sent  for  the  four  men  mentioned.  On  their  arrival 
each  declared  that  he  had  given  permission  to  cut  anything 


Ancient  Tales  and  Folklore  of  Japan 

except  the  big  camphor  ;  but  Chogoro  said  that  he  could 
not  believe  them,  and  in  any  case  he  would  go  by  the 
written  document.  Then  he  ordered  his  men  to  continue 
their  work  on  the  big  camphor. 

Hamada  Tsushima,  the  caretaker,  did  harakiri,  dis- 
embowelling himself  there  and  then  ;  but  not  before  telling 
Chogoro  that  his  spirit  would  go  into  the  camphor  tree,  to 
take  care  of  it,  and  to  wreak  vengeance  on  the  wicked 

At  last  the  efforts  of  the  men  brought  the  stately  tree 
down  with  a  crash  ;  but  then  they  found  themselves  unable 
to  move  it.  Pull  as  they  might,  it  would  not  budge. 
Each  time  they  tried  the  branches  seemed  to  become  alive  ; 
faces  and  eyes  became  painful  with  the  hits  they  got  from 
them.  Pluckily  they  continued  their  efforts  ;  but  it  was 
no  use.  Things  got  worse.  Several  of  the  men  were 
caught  and  nearly  crushed  to  death  between  the  branches  ; 
four  had  broken  limbs  from  blows  given  in  the  same  way. 
At  this  moment  a  horseman  rode  up  and  shouted  : 

'  My  name  is  Matsumaye  Tetsunosuke.  I  am  one  of 
the  Lord  of  Sendai's  retainers.  The  board  of  councillors 
in  Sendai  have  refused  to.  allow  this  camphor  tree  to  be 
touched.  You  have  cut  it,  unfortunately.  It  must  now 
remain  where  it  is.  Our  feudal  lord  of  Sendai,  Lord  Date 
Tsunamune,  will  be  furious.  Kinokuniya  the  contractor 
planned  an  evil  scheme,  and  will  be  duly  punished  ;  while 
as  for  the  Shogun's  agent,  Fujieda  Geki,  he  also  must  be 
reported.  You  yourselves  return  to  Yedo.  We  cannot 
blame  you  for  obeying  orders.  But  first  give  me  that 
forged  permit  signed  by  the  four  local  fools,  who,  it  is 
trusted,  will  destroy  themselves.' 

The  Camphor  Tree  Tomb 

Chogoro  and  his  men  returned  to  Yedo.  A  few  days 
later  the  contractor  was  taken  ill,  and  a  shampooer  was 
sent  to  his  room.  A  little  later  Kinokuniya  was  found 
dead  ;  the  shampooer  had  disappeared,  though  it  was  im- 
possible for  him  to  have  got  away  without  being  seen  ! 
It  is  said  that  the  spirit  of  Hamada  Tsushima,  the  caretaker, 
had  taken  the  form  of  the  shampooer,  in  order  to  kill  the 
contractor.  Chogoro  became  so  uneasy  in  his  mind  that 
he  returned  to  the  camphor  tree,  where  he  spent  all  his 
savings  in  erecting  a  new  shrine  and  putting  in  a  caretaker. 
This  is  known  as  the  Kusunoki  Dzuka  (The  Camphor 
Tree  Tomb).  The  tree  lies  there,  my  story-teller  tells 
me,  at  the  present  day. 

Printed  by  R.  &  R.  CLARK,  LIMITED,  Edinburgh. 



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